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The Scrapbook 

O F 

Katherine Mansfield 




The Scrapbook 

o F 

Katherine Mansfield 


/. Middleton Murry 

New YorI{ • 1940 

Copyright 7939 by Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. All rights reserved. No 
part of this boo\ may be reproduced in any form without permis- 
sion in writing from the publisher, except by a reviewer who 
may quote brief passages in a review to be printed in a magazine 
or newspaper. Manufactured in the United States of America. 



This final collection of Katherine Mansfield's literary 
v remains needs some explanation. The explanation is 

simple. About a year ago, for medical reasons, it ap- 
% pearcd imperative that I should lose no time in tidying 

<J up my affairs. I turned my hand first to Katherine Mans- 

field's papers, because her handwriting is very difficult, 
and it seemed unlikely that anyone but myself would 
be able to decipher them. Being temporarily incapaci- 
tated from other work, I employed myself in transcrib- 
ing all the unpublished fragments of her writing that I 
could find, and arranging them in chronological order. 
It is possible that I attach an exaggerated importance 
to these. But since I had the same misgiving when I 
originally gathered together her Journal, which Euro- 
pean opinion has received as a minor classic, I feel that I 
must trust to my instinct again, and again hope that what 



is precious and inimitable to me may be so to others. 
The situation has changed in this respect: that there are 
now many people in many different countries — in 
France, perhaps, above all others — who take a peculiar 
personal and loving interest in all that pertains to Kath- 
arine Mansfield. In their eyes, I know, this book needs 
no apology. 

It would have been more satisfactory, perhaps, if the 
various elements of this Scrapbook could have been dis- 
tributed in new editions of her books — the new journal 
entries in her Journal, the few finished stories in the vol- 
ume Something Childish, the fragments in an enlarged 
Doves Nest; but, in the first place, that would have been 
very unfair to those who possess the exist : ng editions of 
these books, and, secondly, this seemingly haphazard 
arrangement, though on a larger scale, is singularly like 
that of one of her own notebooks — ordinary French 
school cahiers, mostly — in which finished and unfin- 
ished stories, quotations, odd observations, intimate con- 
fessions, unposted letters, and stray sentences are 
crammed up like some rich thievery. Except in point of 
legibility this Scrapbook is, in fact, more lll{e one of her 
own notebooks even than her published Journal. 

And it has seemed to me that there js amanifesl com- 
pleteness about most of the fragments which are in- 
cluded here; few indeed even of the pieces which I know 


to be unfinished (in the sense that Katharine intended or 
hoped to continue them) make that impression upon 
me. In the case of the majority of the pieces printed here, 
where there is no such external indication, I find it im- 
possible to decide whether they arc or are not finished. 
When Katherine was very young she was addicted to 
short pieces which she romantically called "vignettes," 
or "cameos." Those which have survived of these early 
pieces are not worth printing. But it is evident to me 
that, as her gifts matured, her original bent towards tiie 
short piece was confirmed and vindicated. Her power 
of presenting a complete situation, or conveying an 
entire atmosphere, in a transparently simple page or 
paragraph became remarkable, indeed. 

Therefore I doubt whether the epithet "unfinished" 
can validly be applied to more than one or two of these 
fragments. And for another reason, too. As I have hinted 
in a note towards the end of this book, Katherine "saw," 
and wrote, in flashes. Sometimes the flashes were rela- 
tively long, sometimes very short indeed. But of steady 
and equable composition there is no trace in her manu- 
scripts, nor in my memory of her at work. When the 
full tide of inspiration came, she wrote till she dropped 
with fatigue — sometimes all through the night, in de- 
fiance of her illness. 

With regard to the unpublished letters, I had to aban- 

[ vii ] 


don my original intention of including a number of 
them in this volume. They are so numerous, and stand 
so much in need of other letters for elucidation, that no 
other course is practicable but to prepare a new edition 
of the letters as a whole. This I hope to do, if my power 
of work is restored to me, in the course of 1940. 

Larling, June 1939 

PS.— I gratefully acknowledge the kindness of the follow- 
ing in allowing me to print Katherinc Mansfield's quotations 
from books of which they own the copyright: the author and 
the publisher of that remarkable and neglected book Cosmic 
Anatomy, "M. B. Oxon" and Messrs. J. M. Watkins; Messrs. 
Macmillan, the Macmillan Company, and the representatives 
of the late Thomas Hardy for the verses from 77;<r Collected 
Poems of Thomas Hardy; Messrs. Heincmann for passages 
from Mrs. Constance Garnett's translations of Tolstoy's War 
and Peace, Dostoevsky's The Idiot and The Possessed, and 
Tchchov's Letters; and the Macmillan Company for pas- 
sages from the same translation of The Idiot and The 
Possessed and from Tchehov's short stories. 


The Scrapbook 

O F 

Katherine Mansfield 

i 9 ° 5 - i 3 


About Pat 

In the days of our childhood we lived in a great old 
rambling house planted loncsomely in the midst of huge 
gardens, orchards and paddocks. We had few toys, but 
— far better — plenty of good strong mud and a flight of 
concrete steps that grew hot in the heat of the sun and 
became dreams of ovens. 

The feeling of making a mud pic with all due serious- 
ness is one of the most delicious feelings that we expe- 
rience; you sit with your mixture in the doll's saucepan, 
or if it is soup, in the doll's wash-hand basin, and stir 
and stir, and thicken and "whip," and become more 


i 9 o 5-1 3 

deliciously grimy each minute; whilst the sense of utter 
wickedness you have if it happens to be on clean pina- 
fore days thrills me to this hour. 

Well I remember one occasion when we made pies 
with real flour, stole some water from the dish by the 
dog's kennel, baked them and ate them. 

Very soon after, three crushed, subdued little girls 
wended their way quietly up to bed, and the blind was 
pulled down. 

At that period our old Irish gardener was our hero. 
His name was Patrick Shechan. On Sunday he wore 
gloves with real "kid backs," and a tie-pin made out of 
a boar's tusk. Every morning I went across to the feed- 
room where he cleaned Father's boots, and always at a 
certain stage of the proceedings, I would say, "Oh 
please, Pat, don't!" He invariably replied that "nothing 
else at all gave them such a fine gloss." He used to hoist 
me up on to the table, and recount long talcs of the Dukes 
of Ireland whom he had seen and even conversed with. 
Wc were most proud of our gardener having rubbed 
shoulders with Ireland's aristocracy, and in the evening 
when Pat was at tea in the kitchen we would steal out 
and beg him to show us the manners of the people in 
Ireland. Standing in a row, hand in hand, we would 
watch while Pat put some salt on his knife, tapped it 
off with his fork, the little finger of his right hand well 


curled, in a manner which seemed to us ingenious 
enough for the first Lords of the land. 

Pat was never very fond of me. I am afraid he did not 
think my character at all desirable. I professed no joy 
in having a bird in a cage; and one day committed the 
unpardonable offence of picking a pumpkin flower. He 
never recovered from the shock occasioned by that last 
act of barbarism. I can see him now, whenever I came 
near, nodding his head and saying, "Well now to think! 
It might have become the finest vegetable of the season, 
and given us food for weeks." 

Pat's birthdays occurred with alarming frequency. We 
always gave him the same presents — three sticks of Juno 
tobacco and three cakes of hoky-poky. The presentation 
took place in the back-yard, and he sang us a wonderful 
Irish song, of which we never guessed any more than 
the phrase, "I threw up me hat." It seemed to be the one 
definite remark throughout. 

He considered it a duty to propose to each cook who 
came to the house, making them the offer of himself, the 
gloves with the "kid backs," and the boar-tusk tie-pin 
whenever the occasion demanded. They never by any 
chance accepted him, and I am sure that he never ex- 
pected them to do so. 

Every afternoon he used to brush his old brown bowler 
hat, harness the mare and start for town, and every 


i 9 o 5- 1 3 

evening when he had come home it was my delight to 
wait till he had unharnessed the mare, then to be lifted 
on to her back, and start at a jogging trot through the 
big white gates, down the quiet road and into the pad- 
dock. There I waited until Pat came swinging along with 
the milk pails. 

On those late evenings he had wonderful stories to tell 
of a little old man no bigger than his thumb with a hat 
as high as the barbed-wire fence, who in the night crept 
out of the creek, climbed up the blue-gum tree, picked 
some leaves from die topmost branches, and then crept 
down again. 

"You see," Pat would say, his dear weather-beaten face 
as grave as possible, "it's from blue gums that you get 
eucalyptus, and the old man suflered from cold, living 
in such dampness." 

On those evenings, too, I had my first lessons in the 
mysterious art of milking, but try as I would I could 
never obtain more than a teacupf ul. On several occasions 
the ignominy of this reduced me to tears, but Pat would 
say, "You see, she's such a keen old cow is Daisy. Having 
had children of her own, she knows how much you 
ought to have, and how much more would give you indi- 
gestion." I was always much comforted. Pat had a won- 
derfully young heart. He entered into our pleasures with 
as much zest as we did ourselves. I played a game which 


had no end and no beginning, but was called "Beyond 
the Blue Mountains." The scene was generally placed 
near the rhubarb beds, and Pat officiated as the villain, 
the hero, and even the villainess, with unfailing charm. 

Sometimes, to make it more real, we had lunch to- 
gether, sitting on the whccl-barrow turned upside down, 
and sharing the slice of German sausage and a bath-bun 
with loaf sugar on it. 

On Sunday mornings Pat, in the full glory of a clean 
shirt and corduroy trousers, took us for a walk in the 
great pine plantation. 

He, childishly, used to collect gum and carry it in a 
corner of his handkerchief. For years afterwards I be- 
lieved that those trees just grew for the old witches' of 
the woods, who used their needles in making the big, 
big umbrella over our heads, and all the dresses of the 
flowers, basting their nice, fine, blue-sky calico with the 
gum thoughtfully provided for them. . . . 

When we left that house in the country and went to 
live in town, Pat left us to try his luck in the gold fields. 
We parted with bitter tears. He presented each of ray 
sisters with a goldfinch and me with a pair of white 
china vases cheerfully embroidered with forget-me-nots 
and pink roses. His parting advice to us was to look after 
ourselves in this world and never to pick the flowers out 


i 9 o 5-1 3 

of the vegetable garden because we liked the colour. 
From that day to this I have never heard of him. 


The Grandmother 

Underneath the cherry trees 
The grandmother in her lilac printed gown 
• Carried Little Brother in her arms. 
A wind, no older than Little Brother, 
Shook the branches of the cherry trees 
So that the blossom snowed on her hair 
And on her faded lilac gown 
And all over Little Brother. 
I said "May I see?" 

She bent down and lifted a corner of his shawl. 
He was fast asleep, 

But his mouth moved as if he were kissing. 
"Beautiful!" said the grandmother, nodding and 

But my lips quivered, 
And looking into her kind face 
I wanted to be in the place of Little Brother, 
To put my arms round her neck 
And kiss the two tears that shone in her eyes. 



Along the Grays Inn Road 

Over an opaque sky grey clouds moving heavily like 
the wings of tired birds. Wind blowing: in the naked 
light buildings and people appear suddenly grotesque — 
too sharply modelled, maliciously tweaked into being. 

A little procession wending its way up the Gray's Inn 
Road. In front, a man between the shafts of a hand- 
barrow that creaks under the weight of a piano-organ 
and two bundles. The man is small and greenish brown, 
head lolling forward, face covered with sweat. The 
piano-organ is bright red, with a blue and gold "dancing 
picture" on cither side. The bundle is a woman. You see 
only a black mackintosh topped with a sailor hat; the 
little bundle she holds has chalkwhite legs and yell 


boots dangling from the loose ends of the shawl. Fol- 
lowed by two small boys, who walk with short steps, 
staring intensely at the ground, as though afraid of 
stumbling over their feet. 

No word is spoken; they never raise their eyes. And 
this silence and preoccupation gives to their progress a 
strange dignity. 

They are like pilgrims straining forward to Nowhere, 

dragging, and holding to, and following after that 

bright red, triumphant thing with the blue and gold 

"dancing picture" on either side. 



i 9 o 5 

Sunday Lunch 

Sunday lunch is the last of the cannibal feasts. It is 
the wild, tremendous orgy of the upper middle classes, 
the hunting, killing, eating ground of all the Gcorge- 
the-Fifth-and-Mary English artists. Pray do not imagine 
that I consider it to be ever so dimly related to Sunday 
dinner. Never! Sunday dinner consists of a number of 
perfectly respectable dead ladies and gentlemen eating 
perfectly respectable funeral bakemeats with all those 
fine memories of what British beef and blood has stood 
for, with all that delicate fastidiousness as to the fruit 
in season, and the eternal and comfortable pic. Sunday 
lunch is followed by a feeling of excessive excitement, 
by a general flush, a wild glitter of the eye, a desire to 
sit close to people, to lean over backs of chairs, to light 
your cigarette at someone else's cigarette, to look up and 
thank them while doing so. And above all there is that 
agitating sense of intimacy — that true esprit dc corps of 
the cannibal gathering. Different indeed is the close to 
the Sunday dinner. It has never been known to come to 
a decided finish, but it dies down and dwindles and 
fades away like a village glee singing Handel's "Largo," 
until finally it drops into sofas and chairs and creeps to 
box-ottomans and beds, with illustrated magazines, 
digesting itself asleep until tea-time. 


The Society for the Cultivation of Cannibalism waxes 
most fat and kicks hardest (strictly under the table) in 
Chelsea, in St, John's Wood, in certain select squares, 
and (God help them) gardens. Its members are legion, 
for there is no city in this narrow world which contains 
so vast a number of artists as London. Why, in London 
you cannot read the books for the authors, you cannot 
see the pictures for the studies, you simply cannot hear 
the music for the musicians' photographs. And they arc 
so careless, so proud of their calling, "Look at me! Be- 
hold me, I am an artist!" Mark their continued gen- 
erosity of speech — "We artists; artists like ourselves." 
See them make sacrifice to their Deity — not with wreath 
or garland or lovely word or fragrant spices. They -will 
not demand of her as of old time the gift of true vision 
and the grace of truth. "Ah, no," they say, "we shall give 
her of ourselves. The stufTs of our most expensive 
dresses, our furniture, our butcher's bills, our divorce 
cases, our thrilling adulteries. We men shall have her 
into the smoking-room and split her sides with our dirty 
stories, we women shall sit with her on the bedside 
brushing our side curls and talking of sex until the dawn 
kisses to tearful splendour the pink rose of morning. And 
we shall always remain great friends, for we shall never 
tell die truth to each other." 

From half-past one until two of the clock the cannibal 


* 9 ° 5- 1 3 

artists gather together. They are shown into drawing- 
rooms by marionettes in black suits and foreign com- 
plexions. The form of greeting is expansive, critical and 
reminding. Hostess to female cannibal: "You dear! How 
glad I am to see you!" They kiss. Hostess glances rapidly 
over guest, narrows her eyes and nods. "Sweet!" Raises 
her eyebrows. "New? From the little French shop?" 
Takes the guest's arm. "Now I want to introduce you to 
Kaila Scarrotski. He's Hungarian. And he's been doing 
those naked backs for that cafe. And I know all about 
Hungary, and those extraordinary places. He's just read 
your Tailors of Passion' and he swears you've Slav 
blood." She presses the guest's hand, thereby conveying: 
"Prove you have. Remember I didn't ask you to my 
lunch to wait until the food was served and then eat it 
and go. Beat your tom-tom, dear." When male meets 
male the greeting is shorter. "Glad you came." Takes 
guest aside. "I say, that French dancing woman's here. 
Over there — on the leopard skin — with the Chinese fan. 
Pitch into her, there's a good chap." 

The marionette reappears. "Lunch is served." They 
pay no attention whatever to the marionette, but walk 
defiantly into the dining-room as though they knew the 
fact perfectly well and had no need of telling. They see 
themselves, still with this air of immense unconcern and 
a sort of "Whatever you give me to eat and the forks 


and knives thereof will not surprise me, I'm absolutely 
indifferent to food. I haven't the faintest idea of what 
there is on the table." And then quite suddenly, with 
the most deliberate lightness, a victim is seized by the 
cannibals. "Suppose you've read Fanton's 'Grass Wid- 
ower'?" "Yes." "Not as good as The Evergreen Petals.' " 
"No." "I did not think so either." "Tailed ofT." "So long- 
winded." "Fifty pounds." "But there were bits, half- 
lines you know, and adjectives." The knife pauses. "Oh, 
but have you read his latest?" "Nothing. All about ships 
or something. Not a hint of passion." Down comes the 
knife, James Fanton is handed round. 

"I haven't read it yet." "Not like 'The Old Custom.' " 
"Well, it can't be as good." ". . . Writing in the Daily 
Mail. . . ." "Three to four thousand a year." "A middle- 
class mind, but interesting." The knife wavers. "But 
can't keep the big mould for more than a paragraph." 
His bones are picked. 

This obvious slaughter of the absentees is only a pre- 
liminary to a finer, more keen and difficult doing to 
death of each other. With kind looks and little laughs 
and questions the cannibals prick with the knife. "I liked 
your curtain-raiser fearfully. But when are you going to 
give us a really long play ? Why are you so against plot ? 
Of course I'm old-fashioned. I'm ashamed. I still like 
action on the stage. . . ." "I went to your show yestcr- 

[ 13 ] 

i 9 o 5-1 3 

day. There were the funniest people there. People abso- 
lutely ignorant — you know the kind. And trying to be 
facetious, not to be able to distinguish a cabbage from 
a baby. I boiled with rage. . . ." "But if they offered you 
eighty pounds in America for a short poem, why ever 
didn't you write it?" "I think it's brave of you to adver- 
tise so much, I really do, I wish I had the courage — but 
at the last moment I can't. I never shall be able." 
■ With ever greater skill and daring the cannibals draw 
blood, or the stuff like blood that flows in their veins. 
But the horrible tragedy of the Sunday lunch is this: 
However often the Society kills and eats itself, it is never 
real enough to die, it is never brave enough to consider 
itself well eaten. 



i 9 i 4 


(At the top of accounts beginning Tea, Chemist, 

Tea, the chemist and marmalade — 

Far indeed to-day I've strayed, 

Through Paths untrodden, shops unbeaten, 

And now the bloody stuff is eaten. 

The chemist, the marmalade and tea, 

Lord, how nice and cheap they be! 

Tips and fares and silly femmes 

Have skipped about my day like lambs, 


And great their happiness increased 
Since I am the one who has been fleeced! 

"'In Russia/ Tchchov said to Gorky, 'an honest man 
is a sort of bogey that nurses frighten children with/ It is 
wonderful how like Gorky Tchehov talked when he talked 
to Gorky.'* (George Calderon.) 

I'd like to follow that "lead." 

The Toothache Sunday 

Ah, why can't I describe all that happens! I think 
quite seriously that L. and I are so extraordinarily inter- 
esting. It is not while the thing is happening that I think 
that, but the significance is near enough to bite its heels 
and make me start, too. Have I ruined her happy life? 
Am I to blame? When I see her pale and so tired that 
she shufHcs her feet as she walks when she comes to me — 
drenched after tears; when I see the buttons hanging off 
her coats and her skirt torn — why do I call myself to 
account for all this, and feel that I am responsible for 
her? She gave me the gift of herself. "Take me, Katie. 
I am yours. I will serve you and walk in your ways, 
Katie/* I ought to have made a happy being of her. 
I ought to have "answered her prayers/* They cost 


me so little and they were so humble. I ought to have 
probed my own worthiness of a disciple. Yes, I am alto- 
gether to blame. 

Sometimes, I excuse myself: "We were too much of 
an age. I was experimenting and being hurt when she 
leaned upon me. I couldn't have stopped the sacrifice if 
I'd wanted to" — but it's all prevarication. To-night I 
saw her all drawn up with pain, and I came from J.'s 
room to sec her crouched by the fire like a little animal. 
So I helped her to bed on the sofa and made her a hot 
drink and brought her some rugs and my dark eider- 
down. And as I tucked her up, she was so touching — 
her long fair hair — so familiar, remembered for so long 
— drawn back from her face that it was easy to stoop 
and kiss her, not as I usually do, one little half-kiss, but 
quick loving kisses such as one delights to give a tired 
child. "Oh!" she sighed, "I have dreamed of this." (All 
the while I was faintly revolted.) "Oh!" she breathed, 
when I asked her if she was comfortable. "This is Para- 
dise, beloved!" Good God! I must be at ordinary times 
a callous brute. It is the first time in all these years that 
I have leaned to her and kissed her like that. I don't 
know why I always shrink ever so faintly from her 
touch. I could not kiss her lips. 

Ah, how I long to talk about it sometimes — not for a 
moment, but until I am tired out and have got rid of the 


burden of memory. It is ridiculous in me to expect J. to 
understand or to sympathize; and yet when he does not 
and is bored or hums, I am dreadfully wretched— mainly 
perhaps because of my own inability to enchant him. 

. . . Lifted her poor face all stained and patched with 

Her body was obedient, but how slowly and gravely it 
obeyed, as though protesting against the urge of her 
brave spirit. 

There was no sound in the room but her quiet breath- 
ing and die fluttering rush of the fire and the sting of 
the rain on the glass. Outside, lights appeared at one and 
then another window. The sky was grey and folded 
except for one lane of pale red fringed with clouds. 

Content to stand outside and bathe and bask in the 
light that fell from Katie's warm bright windows, con- 
tent to listen to the voice of her darling among other 
voices and to look for her darling's gracious shadow. 


The Last Friday 

To-day the world is cracking. I am waiting for J. and 
L. I have been sewing as Mother used to sew — with one's 
heart pushing in the needle. Horrible! But is there 


really something far more horrible than ever could re- 
solve itself into reality, and is it that something which 
terrifies me so? In the middle of it I looked out and 
saw the workmen having lunch. They had lighted a fire 
and sat on a board balanced between two barrels. They 
were eating and smoking and cutting up sandwiches. 

Sleeping House 

She lay in bed, still, straight, her hands clasped above 
her head, her lips faintly parted, and her eyes wide open. 

Now all the doors were shut in the house, and now 
Mr. Dcrry had wound up his watch and leapt into his 
side of the bed, lying down straight, the sheet to his chin, 
beside his frail wife. 

Her little face, framed in springy light hair, lay 
pressed in the pillow; her hands, half hidden in the long 
frilled sleeves, were folded over the quilt. 


"Yes, dear." 

He turned out the light and was asleep like a shot. 
She would have fallen asleep too, but her heart was a 
little "dicky." It would not go quite fast enough, and 
that made breathing so difficult. "If I could only take a 
long deep breath". . . She closed her eyes and a tiny line 

[19 ] 

appeared between her brows and she drew in the air in 
little sips. "No, it's not worth while disturbing Henry 
to get my heart mixture. He's been so wonderfully good 
and patient, loathing these affairs as I know he does." 
Full of love she listened to his strong even breathing. 
"My darling !" In some strange way the sound of 
Henry's breathing eased her, oh, soothed her wonder- 

Now Vera read the last verses appointed for that night 
by the Bible Society, "For he mightily convinced the 
Jews and that publickly, showing by the scriptures that 
Jesus was Christ," and put the hand-painted Jerusalem- 
lily book-marker in her Bible and blew out the candle 
and tried not to remember "La faute des roses" but to 
think over what she had read until she fell asleep, and 
Mary decided not to bother about plaiting her hair that 
night but curled up and hugged her and began to dream 
almost before she fell asleep. In fact, she answered "Yes, 
very exciting" out loud in the dream and it woke her 
and she had to go to sleep all over again. 

In his little room at the back Hans sat in his shirt on 

the edge, of the bed, eating some patties, a leg of chicken 

and a chunk of almond jelly out of a napkin stained with 

claret spread on his knees. He had had supper with the 



women servants, but these were his pickings. 

"Ha! Ha! das war lustig!" He munched and licked 
his fingers. He felt an oily glow all over him. Then he 
lay down and began to snore, tossing about in his sleep. 
His toes stuck out from the blanket like a comic picture. 

The servants lay side by side in the narrow iron bed. 
Cook blew out the candle and sighed and settled. 

"I must say I do feel lively," said Zaidcc and tittered 
a bit. "You know that young fellow who gave us the 
glad eye. He's a farm boy. Gave him the rough side of 
my tongue, I did. See 'is tie? Lord! Flashy, I called 
him. Keep of! it ! Flashy, I said. He did look silly." 

But Cook hadn't seen his tie. She had been too busy 
bending over the oven. Yes, that was her job. She never 
got a sight of anything, and small thanks too. Where 
would they be without her, she'd like to know? For she 
saw herself bending over the oven, stooping over the 
table, cutting things — bringing things out, slaving, never 
looking up and everybody laughing and having jokes 
round her. But she was frightened of answering Zaidee 
crossly. If you answered a person crossly and they died 
in the night you were to blame for ever afterwards. She 
was always believing things like that. 

"Oh, life, I am tired!" said Cook and turned to the 


i 9 i 4 

Now everybody in the house was asleep except Elea- 
nor. "I shall never go to sleep again." She clasped her 
arms over her head. She had a strange feeling that she 
floated, floated in the dark. Her eyes shone. She could 
not stop smiling and she could not grow calm. "Calm — 
yes, I must grow calm." But it was impossible. "I shall 
never grow calm again." Her heart beat Philip, Philip, 
like a bell ringing in the alarm of battle. Yes, love was 
a battle. All confusion and excitement — a breathicsc, 
desperate thing. Looking into the future, Eleanor saw 
only Philip and herself, young and strong and shining, 
fighting the whole world, and crying and crying to each 
other "We have won." No, that didn't matter. It was 
the fighting that counted. "I have been a dark feeble 
thing, like a house lighted with one candle; but now 
there is a fire in every part of me, and I am strong, my 
love, my clear!" 

There was no sound in the house any more nor any 
light save where the moon shone on the floors and ceil- 
ings, on the dismantled supper table, gleaming on the 
mirrors and the fading flowers. Silence hung over the 
garden, but the garden was awake. Its fruit and its 
flowers filled the air with a sweet wild scent. White and 
grey moths flew over the silvery branches of the syringa 
bushes. On the dark camellia trees flowers were poised 
like white and red birds. 


So still and mysterious appeared the house under this 
old changeless light of moon, it seemed that the music 
and the dancing night had happened hundreds and hun- 
dreds of years ago. They who lay so quietly in it might 
never wake again. 

December 18, igi4 

That decides me, that frees me. I'll play this game no 
longer. I created the situation — very well, I'll do the 
other thing with moderate care,— and before it is too 
late. That's all. He has made me feel like a girl. I've 
loved, loved just like any girl, — but Fin not a girl", and 
these feelings are not mine. For him I am hardly any- 
thing except a gratification and a comfort. Of course, 
G. doesn't know me through him. He doesn't know me 
himself — or want to. I submit, that's true. But I'm not 
Colette, nor even Lesley. Jack, Jack, we are not going 
to stay together. I know that as well as you do. Don't 
be afraid of hurting me. What we have got each to kill 
— is my you and your me. That's all. Let's do it nicely 
and go to the funeral in the same carriage, and hold 
hands hard over the new grave, and smile and wish each 
other luck. I can. And so can you. Yes, I have already 
said Adieu to you now. 


Darling, it has been lovely. We shall never forget — 
no, never. Goodbye! When once I have left you I will 
be more remote than you can imagine. I see you and G. 
discussing the extraordinary time it lasted. But I am 
far away, and different from what you think. 

i 9 i 5 



Cet heros aux cheveux longs qui, pendant des heurcs 
entieres, grattc avcc sa canne dans le sable; or, ayant 
besom de vivre, crache un peu de sang, et, avec un long 
regard larmoyant mais satisfait, &rit le mot Finis sur la 
meme sable gratt£c. 

Like the old saints on some cathedral, dccoltis, but 
with crowns hanging over their collars. 

I wrote twice that I should return to England on Tues- 
day. I nearly told the concierge. To-day it does not 
seem to matter. Perhaps because of the fact that J. never 


i 9 i 5 

once says that he longs for me, is desolate without me — 
never calls me. He has been to me the being that in a 
solitary world held my hand, and I his—was real among 
the shadows. But to-night he is not quite so real. My 
impatience et ma douleur must seem exaggerated to 
him. Shall I go back? It depends entirely on him. I 
will not write so often or so much. I have been a little 

(This old habit of "jotting" has come back.) 

"Perhaps it is only upon the approach of an outside soul 
that another's soul becomes invisible, and if she be caught 
unawares she will not have time to disappear." (Leon 

That is what Tchehov aimed at. 

"Sooner or late? in all probability this habit will be 
abandoned. In the future, probably, writers will convince 
themselves and the public that any kind of artificial com- 
pletion is absolutely superfluous." (Leon Shestov.) 

Tchehov said so. 

The Apple-Tree 

There were two orchards belonging to the old house. 
One, that we called the "wild" orchard, lay beyond the 


vegetable garden; it was planted with bitter cherries and 
damsons and transparent yellow plums. For some rea- 
son it lay under a cloud; we never played there, we did 
not even trouble to pick up the- fallen fruit; and there, 
every Monday morning, to the round open space in the 
middle, the servant girl and the washerwoman carried 
the wet linen — Grandmother's nightdresses, Father's 
striped shirts, the hired man's cotton trousers and the 
servant girl's "dreadfully vulgar" salmon-pink flannel- 
ette drawers jigged and slapped in horrid familiarity. 

But the other orchard, far away and hidden from the 
house, lay at the foot of a little hill and stretched right 
over to the edge of the paddocks — to the clumps of 
wattles bobbing yellow in the bright sun and the blue 
gums with their streaming sickle-shaped leaves. There, 
under the fruit trees, the grass grew so thick and coarse 
that it tangled and knotted in your shoes as you walked, 
and even on the hottest day it was damp to touch when 
you stopped and parted it this way and that, looking for 
windfalls — the apples marked with a bird's beak, the big 
bruised pears, the quinces, so good to eat with a pinch 
of salt, but so delicious to smell that you could not bite 
for sniffing. . . . 

One year the orchard had its Forbidden Tree. It was 
an apple-tree discovered by Father and a friend during 


an after-dinner prowl one Sunday afternoon. 

"Great Scott!" said the friend, lighting upon it with 
every appearance of admiring astonishment: "Isn't that 

a ?" And a rich, splendid name settled like an 

unknown bird on the tree. 

"Yes, I believe it is," said Father lightly. He knew 
nothing whatever about the names of fruit trees. 

"Great Scott!" said the friend again: "They're won- 
derful apples. Nothing like 'em — and you're going to 
have a tip-top crop. Marvellous apples! You can't beat 

"No, they're very fine — very fine," said Father care- 
lessly, but looking upon the tree with new and lively 

"They're rare — they're very rare. Hardly ever see 'em 
in England nowadays," said the visitor and set a seal on 
Father's delight. For Father was a self-made man and 
the price he had to pay for everything was so huge and 
so painful that nothing rang so sweet to him as to hear 
his purchase praised. He was young and sensitive still. 
He still wondered whether in the deepest sense he got 
his money's worth. He still had hours when he walked 
up and down in the moonlight half deciding to "chuck 
this confounded rushing to the office every day — and 
clear out — clear out once and for all." And now to dis- 
cover that he'd a valuable apple-tree thrown in with the 


orchard — an apple-tree that this Johnny from England 
positively envied! 

;< Don't touch that tree! Do you hear me, children!" 
said he, bland and firm; and when the guest had gone, 
with quite another voice and manner: 

"If I catch either of you touching those apples you 
shall not only go to bed — you shall each have a good 
sound whipping." Which merely added to its magnifi- 

Every Sunday morning after church Father, with 
Bogey and me tailing after, walked through the flower 
garden, down the violet path, past the lace-bark tree, 
past the white rose and syringa bushes, and down the 
hill to the orchard. The apple-tree — like the "Virgin 
Mary — seemed to have been miraculously warned of its 
high honour, standing apart from its fellows, bending a 
little under its rich clusters, fluttering its polished leaves, 
important and exquisite before Father's awful eye. His 
heart swelled to the sight — we knew his heart swelled. 
He put his hands behind his back and screwed up his 
eyes in the way he had. There it stood — the accidental 
thing — the thing that no one had been aware of when 
the hard bargain was driven. It hadn't been counted in, 
hadn't in a way been paid for. If the house had been 
burned to the ground at that time it would have meant 
less to him than the destruction of his tree. And how 


i 9 i 5 

wc played up to him, Bogey and I, — Bogey with his 
scratched knees pressed together, his hands behind his 
back, too, and a round cap on his head with "H.M.S. 
Thunderbolt" printed across it. 

The apples turned from pale green to yellow; then 
they had deep pink stripes painted on them, and then 
the pink melted all over the yellow, reddened, and 
spread into a fine clear crimson. 

At last the day came when Father took out of his 
waistcoat pocket a little pearl pen-knife. He reached up. 
Very slowly and very carefully he picked two apples 
growing on a bough. 

"By Jove! They're warm," cried Father in amaze- 
ment. "They're wonderful apples! Tip-top! Marvel- 
lous!" he echoed. He rolled them over in his hands. 

"Look at that!" he said. "Not a spot—not a blemish!" 
And he walked through the orchard with Bogey and 
me stumbling after, to a tree-stump under the wattles. 
We sat, one on either side of Father. He laid one apple 
down, opened the pearl pen-knife, and neatly and beau- 
tifully cut the other in half. 

"By Jove! Look at that!" he exclaimed. 

"Father!" we cried, dutiful but really enthusiastic, too. 

For the lovely red colour had bitten right through the 

white flesh of the apple; it was pink to the shiny black 

pips lying so justly in their scaly pods. It looked as 



though the apple had been dipped in wine. 

"Never seen that before," said Father. "You won't 
find an apple like that in a hurry!" He put it to his nose 
and pronounced an unfamiliar word. "Bouquet! What 
a bouquet!" And then he handed to Bogey one half, 
to me the other. 

"Don't bolt it!" said he. It was agony to give even so 
much away. I knew it, while I took mine humbly and 
humbly Bogey took his. 

Then he divided the second with the same neat beau- 
tiful little cut of the pearl knife. 

I kept my eyes on Bogey. Together we took a bite. 
Our mouths were full of a floury stuff, a hard, faintly 
bitter skin — a horrible taste of something dry. . /. 

"Well?" asked Father, very jovial. He had cut his 
two halves into quarters and was taking out the little 
pods. "Well?" 

Bogey and I stared at each other, chewing desperately. 
In that second of chewing and swallowing a long silent 
conversation passed between us — and a strange meaning 
smile. We swallowed. We edged near Father, just 
touching him. 

"Perfect!" we lied. "Perfect— Father! Simply lovely!" 

But it was no use. Father spat his out and never went 
near the apple-tree again. 


1 9 i 5 


They did not fall like leaves — they fell like feathers — 
fluttering and floating from the trees that lined the road. 
Who was it used to say that every leaf you caught meant 
a happy month? Rhody, of course. She saw Rhody, the 
tall schoolgirl, break from the "crocodile" when they 
walked in the Park, and run after the leaves, with big, 
.far too big gestures, as though she expected the whole 
tree to fall into her arms. Rhody used to keep the leaves 
in her Bible, and take them out and hold them up to the 
light and gaze at them in Scripture lessons. And she 
always said she knew each one apart. Well, if she said 
so — she did. Just like her. 

The clock in the bio- church struck five. But she did 
not hurry. Idle and happy she walked under the falling 
leaves. A sharp sweet scent was in the air, and a stronger, 
more wintry smell of damp earth. She could feci the 
mist on her eyelids and lips. The sensation of boundless 
strength and happiness flowed over her again. It was 
almost physical — her lungs felt like wings, she could fly 
away on a deep breath, light and strong. 

"Oh, I am glad. Now I am myself again — now I am 

quite safe" she said, like a little child that wakes in its 

bed after a nightmare. And she thought: "If I could only 

remember always that under everything there is only 



this — that everything that is not this is on the surface 
and will not really matter in the end. What is life really ? 
What is real and not real ? Oh God !" 

Came troubled sounds, familiar yet unreal, like the 
memory and the promise of sadness. They shook her 
heart. She did not want to listen. She could have lis- 
tened for ever. Standing there in the dark she drifted 
away to that shadowy loneliness which sometimes 
seemed to her to be her only true life — the only change- 
less truth — the thing that she was never really certain 
was not reality after all. How extraordinary! She saw 
herself, all these last weeks, playing a part — being Maata 
— being herself, carefully caring for things that after all 
didn't matter at all! Why only that afternoon — a fninute 
or two ago, she had believed it all— and it was nothing, 


" . . . Standing whistling for a taxi like a forlorn rooster 
piping before break of day ... or that, although you 
did talk so amazingly about Stendhal, your hat was too 
small. Enfin, you are ridiculous in some way, and I am 
hurt, I am hurt." I have not said a bit what I mean to 
say — it's so difficult to explain— Pvc only hinted. Do 


i 9 ! 5 

you ever feel like that about the world ? Of course, this 
sensitiveness has its reverse side, but that, for some ex- 
traordinary reason, has never anything to do with pres- 
ent people, but is nearly always connected with things. 
To-day, for instance, in my search for a lovely coloured 
rug, very bright and silky to touch, with perhaps a pat- 
tern of wild fruit trees growing on the borders of a 
lake and gay-coloured beasts standing on the brink — for 
not more than fifteen shillings at the outside — I found 
myself in a carpet shop. . . • 

The Dar\ Hollow 

"You're a sweet creature, aren't you?" said Nina, get- 
ting on to a chair so that she would see her waist in 
front and behind in the little mirror. "What are you 
staring at the ceiling for? Money won't fall through 
the ceiling on to the quilt, you know!" She got off the 
chair, and suddenly such a flame of rage leapt up in her 
that she trembled all over. "And you bloody well won't 
milk me any longer!" she muttered. He did not move 
even his eyes. "I've done with you!" She jerked open a 
drawer, and grubbing among the bits of finery for a 
little black veil— "done with you," she repeated. Just as 
she was going out of the door there came a sort of 


chuckle from the bed, "Toodle-oo!" said the voice. She 
flounced round and tossed her head. "What's that? 
What's that you say?" But he was staring at the ceiling 
again. She turned to go and the chuckle was repeated. 
"Toodle-oo!" mocked the voice. Her knees trembled so 
horribly that she could hardly walk down the five 
flights of dark winding stairs. 

It was dusk in the streets and a fine, misty rain was 
falling. The lights from the cafes and street lamps 
showed like great blurred splodges of blue and yellow. 
The traffic trailed up and down the greasy road, and peo- 
ple, mufiled up to the eyes, passed and repassed Nina, all 
going quickly to — somewhere or other. She too walked 
quickly, copying them, pretending. It was very cold. 
She felt the rain on her face and hands and then on her 
shoulders and knees. "And I haven't even an umbrella!" 
Good God! that seemed the last straw. "Not even an 
umbrella!" She walked faster still, holding her handker- 
chief up to her lips. Where was she going to or what 
was she going to do— she had not the slightest idea. She 
would walk until she was tired, and then — her thoughts 
dropped into a dark hollow. But a faint voice came from 
the hollow: "This has happened to you before and will 
happen again and again — and again." Oh, how tired 
she was I "I wonder where I am." She stopped under 
the awning of a flower-shop and peered into the road. 


i 9 i 5 

But how could she tell ? "It's a street, ma chSrie, and 
that's all there is to be said for it." With a faint smile on 
her lips she turned and looked in at the flower-shop 
window. As she watched an arm was thrust among the 
flowers and a hand hovered over some bunches of vio- 
lets, closing finally on the very smallest. "Someone's 
busting the bank. I wouldn't mind betting you the 
money I haven't got, that's a woman." She was quite 
silly with tiredness. "Right, of course!" At that moment 
a girl came to the shop door with the violets tucked in 
her jacket and stood fumbling with the catch of her 
umbrella. Nina's eyes widened. She moved nearer, 
staring. Was it? ... it couldn't be . . . yes, it was! 

"Louise!" she cried. 

"Nina!" cried the girl in a charming, happy voice. 
"How extraordinary! Is it really Nina?" 

"Yes, really," and Nina nodded, her eyes very big and 
black behind the lace veil. 

"But," said Louise, "are you living here? Where are 
you going to, now?" 

She wanted to answer "Nowhere in particular," but 
somehow — her voice had gone and she could only point 
to her throat with a strange, quivering smile. 

"What's the matter? Arc you ill?" 

She managed to whisper "A little bit tired," and 
Louise saw big bright tears falling down her cheeks. 


"Come home with me," she said quickly. "Come 
home with me, now. I live quite close to here." She put 
her arm around Nina. "Child, you're wet through! 
Don't tremble so, you poor little thing. It's just down 
this road and across the court — in here." She half carried 
Nina up the stairs to the door of her flat. At the door 
Nina held back a moment. 

"Is there anybody . . ." 

"No," said Louise, "no, dear, you needn't see anybody. 
Come," and she opened a door at the end of a narrow 
passage into a room half lit by an open fire. "Take off 
your things while I go and get the lamp," said Louise. 

But Nina crouched down by the fire and her weeping 
changed to sobbing, to a dreadful half sobbing; half 
coughing that she could not stop. Without a word 
Louise knelt down. She took ofT Nina's hat, raised her 
a little and pulled off the wet jacket; she slipped down 
beside her and took Nina's dark head on her lap and 
stroked her hair and her checks with firm, loving fin- 
gers. Ah! how good that felt! Her sobbing changed to 
long sighs, and finally she lay still with her eyes shut, 
her head pressed against Louise. "And she doesn't even 
wear a corset. Que! couragel" thought Nina. 

"Now you're better, aren't you? Are you feeling 
warmer?" said the kind, charming voice. Nina nodded 
and under her sleepy content her brain began to be busy 


with . . . what to tell Louise. She sat up, half opened 
her eyes and smiled shyly. 

"I'm dreadfully ashamed,'* she said. Louise got up and 
leaned against the mantelpiece and looked at the fire. 

"Don't bother to apologise," she said, "and don't 
bother to explain. You'd only — make up a story, you 
know, and neither of us would be any the wiser." 

"Oh, no!" said Nina. "No, I shouldn't, not to you. 
Why should I make up stories to you? But there's noth- 
ing to tell," she said — "nothing." Louise put out her foot 
and kicked a piece of wood into sparks. In the quiet 
they heard the rain threshing against the window. 

"What I mean is," said Nina, "there's no sort of a 

Louise was still silent; unseen by her Nina made a 
little grimace. "She thinks it will do me good to get 
it off my mind," she thought, slyly. "Louise," she put her 
hand lightly on the other's arm. "Let me tell you." 
Louise nodded but did not look up. "Well, you know, 
after I left school," said Nina, speaking in a low rapid 
voice, "I hadn't any home to go to, you remember,. I 
never really knew who my people were — someone paid 
for me — cctait tout. And, you heard, didn't you ? I went 
on the stage." 

"Yes, I heard that," said Louise. 
. "I had— pretty good luck at first," said Nina, "but 


then I got ill, and my voice went — and a hard time 
came/* she said. "And then you know, out of pure cow- 
ardice — yes, really — I couldn't fight any more and I 
hadn't the courage to — I married." Louise turned her 
grave glance to her. "I didn't love him a bit," said Nina, 
shaking her head, — "just because I was afraid." 

"All right, I understand," said Louise. Nina looked 
away from her, her voice hardened. 

"And then — oh well, it served me right — he v/as a 
brute and my — " she just hesitated a second, "my baby 
died and I left him." 

"Oh," whispered Louise. 

"And I went on the stage again, and worked and had 
a bigger fight than before, because — I was — lonefy in a 
different way, until — " she walked right away from 
Louise and over to the window and lifted the curtain 
and looked out — "until now," she said and laughed 

"How do you mean ?" said Louise. 

"Oh, my dear," said Nina, very flippant, "I've been 
out of work six weeks. I've not got a sou. I'm so tired 
that the agents won't look at me, and now this afternoon, 
the crisis came. The landlady told me she'd let my 
room. She kept all the clothes I had left to pay for my 
rent — and turned me out with one shilling which I gave 
to the poor little chambermaid as I walked down the 


i 9 i 5 

stairs. Pretty — isn't it? And she turned me into the 
rainy court." "Mon Dieu! have I overdone it?" she 
thought. "Was the shilling a mistake?" 

Said Louise, very thoughtfully: "I say, Nina, how old 
are you?" 

"Twenty-two," said Nina. "Why?" 

"Well, you left school when you were sixteen and 
you've been married to a beast and had a baby and been 
earning your living for six years. Not exactly gay, is it?" 

Thank God, she had believed it all. "No, I don't sup- 
pose it is," said Nina. 

Another pause — "Well, what are you going to do 
now?" said Louise, and she came up to Nina and put 
her hand on the back of Nina's neck and ruffled up her 
short black hair. "Stay with us for a while, will you?" 
she said, "and see how things turn out. Us is I and a man 
called David Field. We've been living together for the 
last three years." She was very cool. 

"But — but how can I ?" said Nina. "I don't believe you 
realise, Louise. I haven't anything at all. No clothes," 
she said, "no money. I'm just as I am, I might be a 

"Yes, I do realise that," said Louise, "and I can quite 

understand you don't want to be a charity child. Well, 

you needn't. But I've got a little money put by— there's 

a tiny room here with a camp bed in it and you can pay 



me back whatever you cost me when you're in luck 
again. That's simple enough. It's no good being senti- 
mental when one is really in a tight place — is it? And, 
quite apart from that," said Louise, "I'd like to have 
you. I think you've had a rotten time. I'd like to feed 
you up and make you happy and spoil you and turn you 
into the old Nina again." 

"But Mr. ..." Nina hesitated. 

"Oh, DavidV* laughed Louise. "David's all right. 
Don't bother about him. Tell me what you want to do." 

Nina said, very frankly, looking straight into Louise's 
eyes — "I want to stay. You know I'll pay you back. Yes, 
I want to stay." 

"Good," said Louise, "I'm glad. Now we needn't talk 
about it again. Come away from that rainy window. I 
don't know what you feel like, but / want some tea." 

"Oh, look," said Nina tragically, "look at my dress." 
Her little dark-blue silk frock was stained with black 
patches of rain. 

"Take it off," said Louise. "I'll go and find you some- 
thing to put on. Bother!" She looked at Nina standing 
in her short petticoat by the fire. "I'm too staid for you. 
You're such a little beauty. You are a lovely little being." 

"Oh," Nina protested. 

"I'd like to wrap you up in David's Chinese silk por- 
tiere. Well — wait, I'll find you something." 


i 9 i 5 

They were spreading over the camp bed a red and 
white Indian cover when they heard the front door open 
and steps in the hall. 

"That's David," whispered Louise, smiling. "Stay 
here while I go and explain. You don't mind ?" 

"Of course not." Nina curled up on the bed. She 
heard voices. "Hallo, Davy." "Hallo, Lou. Hasn't it 
been a rotten day?" "Yes, there's a lovely fire in your 
room." "Good, come on in and talk." Then the sound 
of a door shutting. 

Quiet as a little cat crouched Nina. She scarcely 
seemed to breathe, but her eyes were busy, taking in 
every detail of her room — the low chair with its pretty 
striped pillows, the gold paper screen hiding the wash- 
stand, the black chest of drawers covered with a strip of 
Indian embroidery, the books, the long blue curtain 
drawn across the window. A lamp stood on the table 
by the bed. It had a green shade with tiny red apples 
painted on it, and she looked at her hands lying small 
and rosy in the ring of soft light. "I must come of a good 
stock," she decided. "My wrists and my ankles are so 
fine." A mysterious sense of well-being filled her. It 
did not matter how long this lasted. At any rate for the 
time she had dropped out of her own world and all its 
beastliness, and that was enough. Never look into the 
future or you will find the future is looking at you. . . . 


The funny thing was that Louise had believed her story 
— had taken it all so simply and naturally that Nina 
began to have a faint feeling that it was true. She saw 
herself, little and brave, going to agent after agent. 
Quite plainly she saw the brute of a husband — there 
wasn't any difficulty in imagining him, but even the 
baby was there, pale, with big solemn eyes, lying across 
her lap. "But the crying. I did not put that on. No, I 
could not help that. How I sobbed!" she thought ad- 
miringly, and yawned and stretched herself, thinking of 
nothing at all, until Louise called, "Come and show 
yourself, Nina!" 

David sat down at the piano and struck a succession 
of quick light chords. He looked at Louise. "What shall 
I play?" he said, half petulantly, in the voice of a spoilt 

"Play the Sibelius Sonata." 

"Do you want that?" 

She nodded, and he smiled at her and began to play. 
Louise lay back in her chair, her arms stretched along 
the sides and her hands drooping. In the dim light, her 
face with half-shut eyes was like a beautiful soft mask. 
She was very lovely lying and listening; but "I am 
happy. I am at peace with myself, I am safe . . . " — in 
die very way she breathed one could tell that of Louise. 


i 9 i 5 

"It is love," thought Nina. "Of course, it is love that 
gives her that air. But what sort of love? What can 
there be in that conceited boy to keep one satisfied three 
years? She doesn't mother him and ... no, he's not 
the grand bebe type. Is Louise frightfully passionate? 
Do those two when they are alone — Oh no, it isn't pos- 
sible. And besides Louise had not the chic and the cer- 
tainty for a really great affair. I do not understrnd them 
at all — at all — " thought Nina, half angry, folding her- 
self up in a corner of the sofa. 

David had come to the second movement, the slow 
movement that is based on a folk song and is so sad and 
so lovely. His proud head was tilted back a little the 
better to listen. . . . 


i 9 i 6 

Afoto /or "Prelude" 
In the scurely, as Lottie says. 

Look out now, Rags! Don't you touch that when I'm 
not here. If you put the tip of your finger into that, it 
\id wither your hand ofl! 

"We came over with Mum on the bus and were going 
to stay to dinner. What time is dinner at your new 

"The same time as we always used to have it," said 
Lottie. "When the bell rings." 


i 9 i o 

"Pooh! that isn't what time," said Pip. "We always 
have our dinner hal' pas' twelve. Let's go round to the 
kitchen and ask your servant what time yours is." 

"We're riot allowed to go into the kitchen in the 
morning," said Isabel. "We have to keep away from 
the back of the house." 

"Well, Rags and I can, because we're visitors. Come 
on, Rags!" 

But when they had passed through the side gate, open- 
ing with a big iron ring, that led into the courtyard, they 
forgot all about asking the servant. 

"What do you have for dinner?" 

"The same as we always used to have," said Lottie, 
"except we have cold milk instead of water to drink." 

Mrs. Trout, she was a widow. Her husband had died 
five years before, and immediately upon his death, before 
he was cold, she had married again, far more thor- 
oughly and more faithfully than she ever had married 

The Journey Home. 

The Aloe. . . . 

Stanley Burnell: Beryl plays the guitar. 


The Samuel Josephs; the Journey and Supper; Bed 
for all. Dan; Burnell courting Linda; Mrs. Burnell and 
Beryl; Kezia; The Aloe. 

Stanley Burnell drives home; the Nursery; Beryl with 
a guitar; Children; Alice; The Trout sisters; Mrs. 
Trout's latest novel; Cribbage; Linda and her mother. 

Really thirteen chapters. 

They cut down the stem when Linda is ill. She has 
been counting on the flowering of the Aloe. 

That Woman 

Sitting astride the bow window ledge, smelling the 
heliotrope — or was it the sea? — half of Kezia was in the 
garden and half of her in the room. 

"Have you put down the Harcourts?" 

"Yes, Mrs. Phil and Mrs. Charlie." 

"And the Fields?" 

"Mrs. and the Misses Field." 

"And Rose Conway ?" 

"Yes, and that Melbourne girl staying with her." 

"Old Mrs. Grady?" 

"Do you think— necessary ?" 

"My dear, she does so love a good cackle." 


i 9 i o 

"Oh, but that way she has of dipping everything in 
her tea! Iced chocolate cake and the ends of her feather 
boa dipped in tea. . . ." 

"How marvellously that ribbon has lasted, Harriet 

That was Aunt Beryl's voice. She, Aunt Harrie and 
Mother sat at the round table with big shallow teacups 
in front of them. 

In the dusky light, in their white pufTed-up muslin 
blouses with wing sleeves, they were three birds at the 
edge of a lily pond. Beyond them the shadowy room 
melted into the shadow; the gold picture frames were 
traced upon the air; the cut-glass door-knob glittered; 
a song — a white butterfly with wings outspread — clung 
to the ebony piano. 

Aunt Harriets plaintive, singing tones: "It's very faded, 
really, if you look into it. I don't think it can possibly 
stand another ironing." 

"If I were rich," said Aunt Beryl, "with real money 
to spend — not save" . . . 

"What about — what about asking that Gibbs 
woman ?" 


"How can you suggest such a thing!" 

"Well, why not? She needn't come. But it must be 
so horrid not to be asked anywhere!" 


"But, good heavens, whose fault is it? Who could 
ask her?" 

"She's nobody but herself to blame." 

"She's simply flown in people's faces." 

"And it must be so particularly dreadful for Mr. 

"But, Harrie, dear, he's dead." 

"Of course, Linda, that's just it. He must feel so help- 
less, looking down." 

Kezia heard her mother say: "I never thought of that. 
Yes, that might be . . . very maddening!" 

Aunt Beryl's cool little voice gushed up and over- 
flowed: "It's really nothing to laugh at, Linda. There 
arc some things one really must draw the line at." 

Kezia and Tui 

All that day school seemed unreal and silly to Kezia. 
Round and round, like a musical box with only one 
tune, went her mind on what had happened the evening 
before. Her head ached with trying to remember every 
little detail and every word. She did not want to re- 
member — but somehow, she could not stop trying. She 
answered questions and made mistakes in her sums and 
recited "How Horatius kept the Bridge" like a little girl 


i 9 i b 

in a dream. The day crawled by. "That was the first 
time I've ever stood up to him," she thought. "I wonder 
if everything will be different now. We can't even 
pretend to like each other again." Bottlcnose! Bottle- 
nose! She smiled again remembering the word, but at 
the same time she felt frightened. She had not seen her 
father that morning. The Grandmother told her that 
he had promised not to mention the subject again. "But 
I didn't believe that," thought Kezia. "I wish it hadn't 
happened. No, I'm glad it has ... I wish that he was 
dead — Oh, what Heaven that would be for us!" But she 
could not imagine that sort of person dying. She remem- 
bered suddenly the way he sucked in his moustache 
when he drank and the long hairs he had on his hands, 
and the noises he made when he had indigestion — No, 
that sort of person seemed too real to die. She worried 
the thought of him until she was furious with rage. 
"How I detest him — detest him!" The class stood up to 
sing. Kezia shared a book with Tui. 

"O forest, green and fair, 
O pine-trees waving high, 
How sweet their cool retreat, 
How full of rest!" 

sang the little girls. Kezia looked out through the big 
bare windows to the wattle trees, their gold tassels nod- 


ding in the sunny air, and suddenly the sad tunc and the 
trees moving so gently made her feel quite calm. She 
looked down at the withered swect-pca that drooped 
from her blouse. She saw herself sitting on the Grand- 
mother's lap and leaning against the Grandmother's 
bodice. That was what she wanted. To sit there and hear 
Grannie's watch ticking against her ear and bury her 
face in the soft warm place smelling of lavender and put 
up her hand and feel the five owls sitting on the moon. 

Mrs. Fairfield was in the garden when she came home 
— stooping over the pansics. She had a little straw basket 
on her arm, half filled with flowers. Kezia went up to 
her and leant against her and played with her spectacle 

"Sweetheart, listen/' she said. "It's no good saying I'm 
sorry, because I'm not. And I'm not ashamed either. It's 
no good trying to make me." Her face grew hard. "I 
hate that man and I won't pretend. But because you're 
more — " she hesitated, groping for the word, "more 
valuable than he is, I won't behave like that again — not 
unless I absolutely feel I can't help it, Grannie." She 
looked up and smiled. "See?" 

"I can't make you do what you don't want to, Kezia," 
said Mrs. Fairfield. 

"No," said she, "Nobody can, can they? Otherwise 
it wouldn't be any good wanting anything for your own 


i 9 i 6 

self —would it? Aren't the pansies pretties, Grannie? 
I'd like to make pets of them." 

"I think they're rather like my little scaramouch in the 
face," said Mrs. Fairfield, smiling and pulling Kezia's 
pink ear. 

"Oh, thank goodness!" sighed Kezia. "You're your- 
self again. We've made it up, haven't we ? I can't bear 
being serious for a long time together. Oh, my Grannie, 
.I've got to be happy with you. When I go thinking of 
serious things I could poke out my tongue at myself." 
She took Mrs. Fairfield's hand and stroked it. "You 
do love me, don't you?" 

"Of course, you silly billy." 

"We-ell," laughed Kezia. "That's the only real thing, 
isn't it?" 

"There are two bits of cold pudding inside for you and 
Tui," said Mrs. Fairfield. "Run along and take it to her 
while I finish the ironing. I only came out while the 
iron was getting hot." 

"You won't be wretched if I leave you alone ?" asked 
Kezia. She danced into the house, found the pudding 
and danced over to the Beads'. 

"Mrs. J^ead! Tui! where are you?" she called, step- 
ping over a saucepan, two big cabbages and Tui's hat 


and coat inside the kitchen door. 

"We're upstairs. I'm washing my hair in the bath- 
room. Come. up, darling," cooed Tui. Kezia bounded 
up the stairs. Mrs. Bead in a pink flannel dressing-gown 
sat on the edge of the bath, and Tui stood in torn calico 
drawers, a towel round her shoulders and her head in a 

"Hallo, Mrs. Bead," said Kezia. She buried her head 
in the Maori woman's neck and put her teeth in a roll 
of soft fat. Mrs. Bead pulled Kezia between her knees 
and had a good look at her. 

"Well, Tui," she said, "you arc a little fibber. Tui told 
me you'd had a fight with your father and he'd given 
you two black eyes." 

"I didn't — I didn't," cried Tui, stamping. "No one is 
looking after me. Pour a jug of water on my head, 
Mummy. Oh, Kezia, don't listen to her." 

"Pooh! it's nothing new," said Kezia. "You're always 
lying. I'll pour the water over your head." She rolled 
up her sleeves and deluged Tui, who gave little moaning 

"I'm drowned, drowned, drowned," she said, wring- 
ing out her long black hair. 

"You have a lot of it," said Kezia. 

"Yes." Tui twisted it round her head. "But I shan't 


i 9 i o 

be content till it is down to my knees. Don't you think 
it would be nice to be able to wrap yourself up in your 

"What funny ideas you have," said Kezia, considering 
Tui. "Mrs. Bead, don't you think Tui's getting awfully 

"Oh, not more than she ought to," said Mrs. Bead, 
stretching herself and yawning. "I believe in girls think- 
, ing about their appearance. Tui could do a lot with her- 
self if she liked." 

"Well, she doesn't think about anything else, do you, 

"No, darling," Tui smiled. 

"Well, why should she?" remarked Mrs. Bead easily. 
"She's not like you, Kezia. She hasn't got any brain 
for books, but she's real smart in making up complexion 
mixtures and she keeps her feet as neat as her hands." 

"When I grow up," said Tui, "I mean to be a terri-ric 
beauty. Mother's going to take me to Sydney when I'm 
sixteen—but I mean to be the rage if I die for it. And 
then I'm going to marry a rich Englishman and have 
five little boys with beautiful blue eyes." 

"Well, you never know," said Mrs. Bead. "And if 
you turn out into a raging beauty, Tui, I'll take you to 
Sydney, sure. What a pity you couldn't come too, 
' [54] 


'We'd make such an uncommon pair," suggested 
Tui. Kezia shook her head. 

"No, Grannie and I are going to live by ourselves 
when I grow up, and I'm going to make money out of 
flowers and vegetables and bees." 

"But don't you want to be rich ?" cried Tui, "and travel 
all over the world and have perfect clothes ? Oh, dear, 
if I thought I was going to live all my life with Mummy 
in this piggy little house I believe I'd die of grief." 

"Yes, that's a good thing about you, Tui," said Mrs. 
Bead. "Though you're lazy like me, you want a lot to 
be lazy on; and you're quite right, dearie, quite right. I 
made a great mistake coming to a little town like this. 
But then I'd got sick of things and I had enough* money 
to keep us, and once I got the furniture in here I seemed 
to lose heart, somehow. You ought to have ambition, 
Kezia, but I think you'll come on slower than Tui. You 
do keep skinny, don't you?" said Mrs. Bead. "Why, 
Tui's got quite a figure beside you." 

"She hasn't got any front at all, Mummy," gurgled 
Tui. "Have you, cherie? Mummy, go downstairs and 
make us some cocoa, and I'll get dressed and come down 
to finish my hair at the fire." 

Mrs. Bead left the two little girls. They went into 
Tui's bedroom. 

"Look I" said Tui. "Doesn't it surprise you? Mummy 


i 9 i o 

and I fixed it yesterday." The shabby untidy little room 
had changed to suit Tui's romantic mood. White mus- 
lin curtains made out of an old skirt of her mother's 
adorned the bed, and everywhere Kezia looked there 
were pink sateen bows. Over the looking-glass, on the 
back of the chair, on the gas bracket and the four black 
iron bed-poles. 

"Why don't you put a bow on each of the knobs of 
• the chest of drawers," said Kezia, sarcastically, "and 
round the washstand jug, too!" 

"Oh!" Tui's face fell. "Don't you like it, darling? 
We thought it was lovely. Mummy thought you'd think 
it fearfully artistic." 

"I think it looks awful," said Kezia, "and just like you. 
You're off your head lately, Tui Bead." 

"Really and truly you think so?" said Tui, making 
tragic eyes at herself in the looking-glass. 

"Yes. Besides, if I were you, I would mend my 
drawers first," she answered, scorning Tui's eyes. 

"I wonder what makes you so hard, hard, hard. 
You're never nice to me now, Kezia." 

"Yes, I am. But you're so dotty. You seem to be 
getting all different." 

"Darling," Tui put her arm round Kezia's waist, "in 
my heart I'm just the same. Feel my hair. Do you think 


I've washed it successfully? Feel this bit. Is it silky?" 
Kezia gave it a pull. 

"It's nearly as soft as you." 

"Come along downstairs, you kids," called Mrs. Bead. 
"And, Kezia, you can take a piece of my coconut cake 
to your grandma. It hasn't riz at all and it's a little damp 
in the middle, but the ingredients are all the best 

It was dark when she left the Beads'. She went home 
by the front way through their weedy garden and out 
of the gate into their own. I lawk Street was quiet. All 
over the sky there were little stars and the garden with 
its white flowers looked as though it were steeped in 
milk. The blinds were pulled down in their house but 
lamplight shone from the sitting-room and she knew 
her father was there. But she did not care. 

"What a lovely thing night is," thought Kezia. "I 
wish I could stay out here and watch it." She bent her 
face over the spicy arum lilies and could not have enough 
of their scent. "I shall remember just this moment," 
decided the little girl. "I shall always remember what I 
like and forget what I don't like." How still and quiet 
it was! She could hear the dew dripping off the leaves. 
"I wonder," she thought, dreamy and grave, looking up 
at the stars, "I wonder if diere really is a Godl" 


The Possessed 

" 'Ha ha!* Karmazinov got up from the sofa, wiping his 
mouth with a table-napkin, and came forward to kiss him 
with an air of unmixed delight — after the characteristic 
fashion of Russians if they are very illustrious." 

Not only Russians! 

" 'Surely you must see that I am in the agonies of child- 
birth,' she said, sitting up and gazing at him with a terrible, 
hysterical vindictiveness that distorted her whole face. 'I 
curse him before he is born, this child!' " 

This "vindictiveness" is profoundly true. 

"There are seconds— they come Rwc or six at a time — 
when you suddenly feel the presence of the eternal harmony 
perfectly attained. It's something not earthly — I don't mean 
in the sense that it's heavenly — but in that sense that man 
cannot endure it in his earthly aspect. He must be physically 
changed or die. This feeling is clear and unmistakable; it's 
as though you apprehend all nature and suddenly say, 'Yes, 
that's right.' God, when he created the world, said at the 
end of each day of creation, 'Yes, it's right, it's good.' It . . . 
it's not being deeply moved, but simply joy. You don't for- 
give anything because there is no more need for forgiveness. 
It's not that you love — oh, there's somediing in it higher 


than love — what's most awful is that it's terribly clear and 
such joy. If it lasted more than five seconds, the soul could 
not endure it and must perish. In those five seconds I live 
through a lifetime, and I'd give my whole life for them, 
because they are worth it. To endure ten seconds one must 
be physically changed. I think man ought to give up having 
children — what's the use of children, what's the use of evolu- 
tion when the goal has been attained? In the gospel it is 
written that there will be no child-bearing in the resurrection, 
but that men will be like the angels of the Lord. That's a 
hint. Is your, wife bearing a child?" 

I know that. 

The Idiot 

"Do you know that she may love you now more than 
anyone, and in such a way that the more she torments you, 
the more she loves you ? She won't tell you so, but you must 
know how to see it. When all's said and done, why else is 
she going to marry you? Some day she will tell you so 
herself. Some women want to be loved like that, and that's 
just her character. And your love and your character must 
imoress her! Do you know that a woman is capable of 
torturing a man with her cruelty and mockery without the 
faintest twinge of conscience, because she'll think every time 
she looks at you: 'I'm tormenting him to death now, but 
I'll make up for it with my love later'?" 


"She says to mc: 'Tell them I won't marry you with- 
out that. When they've gone to church, we'll go to church/ 
I can't make out what it means, and I never have understood; 
she either loves you beyond all reckoning, or ... If she does 
love you, why does she want to marry you to someone else? 
She says, 'I want to see him happy,' so she must love you." 

Lines from Sha\espeare 

"When I was at home, I was in a better place; 
But travellers must be content." 

"I like this place 
And willingly would waste my time in it." 

"Dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage." 

"Out of this nettle danger 
We pluck this flower safety." 

"But that the scambling and unquiet time . . ." 

"But when he speaks 
The air, a chartered libertine, is still." 

"If you would walk ofl, I'd prick your guts a little in 
good terms as I may; and that's the humour of it." 


*'Why the devil should we keep knives to cut one another's 

"I cannot kiss; that's the humour of it— but adieu." 


I must not go on thinking like this. My thoughts 
arc all of Chaddie * — of our meeting on Monday, of what 
we shall say and how we shall look. I keep wondering 
what I shall do if the boat arrives in the middle of the 
night, or what I shall do if someone robs me while I am 
there. A thousand different thoughts. And what she 
will say, and if she will expect me. These thoughts fly 
through my head like mad things. They never finish; 
and then there is always the idea that I may, by some 
awful error, miss her — it isn't possible — and what we 
shall do when we do meet. This is sheer sin, for I ought 
to be writing my book, and instead I am pretending 

But all these various things are really, really very diffi- 
cult to keep up the fight against. And the desire for 

1 Two letters describing this journey to Marseilles to meet 
her sister, who was returning from India, will be found in Letters, 
Vol. I. pp. 59-60. The reference in the doggerel verses is to 
Katherine's trick of putting on the clock, unknown to me, in 
order to hasten lunch-time. J. M. M. 


mid-day and an omelette is really awful. I'm hungry 
beyond words. An omelette— hot coffee— bread and but- 
ter and jam — I could cry at the very thought. Only you 
see, fool who is reading this, I went out awfully early. 
Before eight o'clock I was down in the village with my 
filet in my hand a-gctting of the lunch and the dinner. 
And although it plcuvcd cats and dogs I marched about 
the land, and came back home a kind of hardened sin- 

For the petit s pois, I really must confess, 
Were sinfully expensive and I couldn't have 

bought less. 
I had to buy a dcmi-livre, and that's by no 

means ample. 
By the time that they've been shelled and 

cooked, il ne reste plus qtitin sample. 

Twenty to twelve, says our old clock. 
It seems to talk and slyly mock 
My hunger and my real distress 
At giving way to wickedness. 
Oh, say a quarter! Say ten to! 
Whirr in the wheezy way you do 
Before you strike! But no! 


As I have frequently observed, 

All clocks are deaf — this hasn't heard. 

And, as it is, grace a my guiding, 

The brute is fast beyond all hiding. 
It is really only seven 
Minutes past a bare eleven! 

Now Jack's got up and made a move . 

But only to the shelves above. 

He's settled down. Oh, what a blowl 

I've still a good fifteen to go. 

Before the brute has chimed well, 

I may be dead and gone to hell. 


But it wasn't so bad as all that after all. I struck work, 
and we had no end of a good feed, and now it is two 
(by our clock), so I'll knock off this rubbish and really 
settle down. 

An Unposted Letter 

Dear Frieda: The new house [Higher Tregerthen] 
sounds very nice, and I am glad to think we shall be 
there — all of us,, together — this spring. Thank you for 
your letter, dear, but you really haven't been right in 


judging us first the kind of traitors that you did. J. never 
would hear a word against Lawrence. 


"Spring comes with exquisite efTort in England." 
A.B.B. (?Anne Burncll Beauchamp, Katherine's mother.) 


Why can't I change my hair-ribbon on Wednesday 
afternoon? All the other girls are allowed to; and it 
can't be because Mother really thinks I shall lose my 
best one. I know a way to tie a hair-ribbon so that it 
simply can't possibly come off, and she knows I do, 
because she taught me herself. 

But "No," says Mother. "You may put on your thread- 
work pinafore, but you may not put on your blue satin 
hair-ribbon. Your ordinary brown velvet one is per- 
fectly neat, suitable and unobtrusive as it is." (Mother 
loves sentences like this.) "I can't help what all the 
other girls do. Have you got your thimble?" 

"Yes, Mother, in my pocket." 

"Show it to me, dear." 

"I said, Mother, it was in my pocket." 

"Well, show it to me so that I can be perfectly sure." 

"Oh, Mother, why do you treat me like a baby ? You 


always seem to forget on purpose that I'm in my teens. 
None of the other girls' mothers . . ." 

Oh well, I'll take my blue satin hair-ribbon in my 
pocket and change when I get to school. It serves 
Mother right. I don't want to deceive her, but she makes 
me deceive her, and she doesn't really care a bit — she 
only wants to show her power. 

It was Wednesday afternoon. I love Wednesday after 
noons. I simply adore them. We don't have any real 
school, only sewing-class and elocution in the drawing- 
room for the girls who take private lessons. Everything 
is different on Wednesdays. Some of the older ones 
even wear Japanese silk blouses, and we change into 
our slippers and we all wash our hands at the hvatory 
basin in the passage. The inkpots are put away by the 
monitors, the desks pushed against the wall. There is 
a long table down the middle of the room with two big 
straw baskets on it. The chairs are arranged in little 
groups. The windows aie opened wide. Even the gar- 
den outside — with its beaten paths and its flowery bushes 
tumbled and draggled because the little ones will root 
under them for their balls — seems to change, to become 
real on Wednesdays. When we lift our heads to thread 
our needles the fuchsia is lifting and the camellias are 
white and red in the bright sun. 

We are making cheap flannelette chemises for the 


Maori Mission. They are as long as nightdresses, 
very full, with huge armholes and a plain band round 
the neck — not even a lace edging. Those poor Maoris! 
they can't all be as fat as these chemises. But Mrs. Wal- 
lis, the Bishop's wife, said when she gave the newspaper 
pattern to the headmistress, "It is wiser to reckon on 
their being fat." The headmistress laughed very much 
and told Miss Burton, our class mistress, but Miss Bur- 
.ton is very fat herself so she blushed frightfully — of 
course, it was pure spite on the headmistress's part. 
Skinny little thing! I know she thinks she has got a 
lovely slim figure. You should see her pressing her little 
grey alpaca hips when she is talking to the curate be- 
fore Scripture lesson. 

But even she is not the same on Wednesday after- 
noons. Her grey alpaca dress is adorned with a black 
tulle bow. She wears a tall comb in her hair, and when 
she's not inspecting the sewing she sits at the end of the 
long table, her gold-rimmed eyeglasses hooked on her 
long peaked nose that has such funny little red veins at 
the end of it, and she reads Dickens aloud. 

Our class-room is very big. The walls are free, so are 

the window sashes and the doors; and all the girls sit 

in their little cane chairs, their faces showing above a 

froth of cream flannelette; on their heads their best 



hair-ribbons perch and quiver. Their hands lift and fall 
as they sew those Maori Mission seams. Sometimes they 
sigh or May Svvainson sneezes. Ever since she had an 
operation on her nose she is always sneezing. Or Madge 
Rothschild, who wears a glace silk petticoat, gets up 
and rustics to the table for her scissors or some thread, 
or to ask if she has to turn down a selvedge. 

But all the same it is quiet in the room, it is very quiet; 
and when the headmistress reads Dickens aloud, there 
is something so fascinating in her voice that I could 
listen for years and years. She is reading "David Cop- 
perfield." When there is a full-page illustration she 
passes the book round for us to look. One by one we 
put our sewing down. "Quickly, girls! Don't clawdle 
over it!" 

How funny! The headmistress herself is exactly like 
one of those illustrations — so tiny, so spry. While she 
waits for the book to come back she sits polishing her 
eyeglasses on a handkerchief that is tucked between 
two hooks of her grey alpaca bodice. What does she 
remind me of? She reminds me of a bird and a donkey 
mixed. . . . 

"Bring me that here to look at— will you, Kathcrine ?" 

(March 1916) 


Rose Eagle 

It was wonderful how quickly Rose Eagle forgot the 
first fourteen years of her life. They were nothing but 
a dream, out of which she wakened to find herself sit- 
ting on her yellow tin box in the kitchen of her "first 
place," with a queer shaking in her hands and knees 
and the hot blood burning and tightening her cheeks. 
She and the yellow tin box might have been washed 
through the back door into Mrs. Taylor's kitchen on the 
last wave of a sea-storm — so forlorn and unfamiliar 
they appeared, and she turned her head from side to 
side as though she were sensing quiet and stillness for 
the first time. . . . 

It was late in the afternoon of a hot December day. 
The sun shone through the drawn blind in long pencil 
rays of light, over the floor and the face of the dresser 
and a church calendar picture of a dreamy young Jesus 
with an armful of lambs; and facing her sat Mrs. Tay- 
lor, changing the baby who sprawled on her lap, wav- 
ing his hands and blowing bubbles. Mrs. Taylor kept 
on talking to Rose in a vague singing voice. The clock 
on the mantelpiece ticked sharply and a tap in the scul- 
lery tip-tipped like stealthy footsteps. 

"Yes, m'm," said Rose Eagle, and "No, m'm," to all 
that Mrs. Taylor said. 


Cf You will share Reggie's room, Rose. Reggie is my 
oldest boy. He is four and he has just started school. 
And now that you have come I'll give up having baby 
at night— he keeps me awake so. You're used to babies ?" 

"Oh, yes, mm!" 

"I really do not feel well enough to tell you your du- 
ties to-day," said Mrs. Taylor, languidly sticking safety- 
pins into the gurgling baby. 

Rose Eagle got up and bent over Mrs. Taylor. "Here," 
she said, "give 'im to me," and as she straightened her- 
self with the warm, fat lump in her arms, she felt fright- 
ened no longer. Baby Taylor was to Rose Eagle the 
saucer of milk to the stray cat. The fact of acceptance 
proved resignation. 

"My word! what 'air 'e's got!" said Rose Eagle, cud- 
dling him. "It's like black feathers." 

Mrs. Taylor rose with her hands to her head. Tall 
and thin in her lilac cotton dress, she pushed back from 
her forehead the heaping black hair, with eyes half-shut 
and quivering lips. 

"My! you do look bad!" said Rose, relishing this per- 
formance. "You go an' 'ave a lie down on your bed, 
m'm, an' I'll bring you a cup o' tea in a minute. I'll 
manage best ways I can." 

She followed her mistress out of the kitchen, along 
the little passage, into the best bedroom. "Lie down! 


Take yer shoes off!" Mrs. Taylor submitted, sighing, 
and Rose Eagle tiptoed back into the kitchen. 

This story seems to lack coherence and sharpness. 
That's the principal thing: it's not at all sharp. It's like 
eating a bunch of grapes instead of a grape of caviare. 
... I have a pretty bad habit of spreading myself at? 
times — of over-writing and under-stating. It's just care- 

The 'New-born Son 

So that mysterious mother, faint with sleep, 

Had given into her arms her new-born son, 

And felt upon her bosom the cherished one 

Breathe and stiffen his tiny limbs and weep. 

Her arms became as wings, folding him over 

Into that lovely pleasance, and her heart 

Beat like a tiny bell: "He is my lover, 

He is my son, and we shall never part. 

Never, never, never, never — but why?" 

And she suddenly bowed her head and began to cry. 

"When he had finished with the album, Von Koren 
took a pistol from the whatnot, and screwing up his lejt eye, 


too\ deliberate aim at the portrait of Prince Voronsotv, or 
stood still at the looking-glass and gazed a long time at his 
swarthy face, his big forehead and his black hair, which 
curled like a negro's. . . ." 



i 9 i 7 

The Lost Battle 1 

Was it simply her own imagination, or could there 
be any truth in this feeling that waiters — waiters espe- 
cially — and hotel servants adopted an impertinent, arro- 
gant and slightly amused attitude towards a woman 
who travelled alone? Was it just her wretched female 
self -consciousness ? No, she really did not think it was. 
For even when she was feeling her happiest, at her 
freest, she would become aware, quite suddenly, of the 
"tone" of the waiter or the hotel servant, and it was ex- 

1 The first three paragraphs of this piece appear in the Journal, 
dated 1915, under the heading "Travelling Alone." 


traordinary how it wrecked her sense of security. It 
seemed to her that something malicious was being 
plotted against her, as though everybody and every- 
thing — yes, even to inanimate objects like chairs and 
tables — was secretly "in the know" — waiting for that 
ominous, infallible thing to happen to her which always 
did happen, and which was bound to happen to every 
woman on earth who travelled alone. 

The waiter prodded a keyhole with a bunch of keys, 
wrenched one round, flung the grey-painted door open, 
and stood against it, waiting for her to pass in. He held 
his feather duster upright in his hand, as though it were 
a smoky torcli he carried. 

"Here is a nice little room for Madame," said the 
waiter insinuating. Me flung open the groaning win- 
dow, and unhooked the shutters, letting a cold shadow- 
less light flow into the hideous slip of a room, with the 
Hotel Rules and the Police Regulations pinned over 
the washstand, and narrow shy furniture that looked 
as if it were afraid that one fine niizht the hotel walls 
would clap together like butter-pats and squeeze it. 

She crossed to the window and looked out over a 
court on to the back of another tall building with 
strangely crooked windows, hung with tattered wash- 
ing, like the windows of a house in a comic picture. 

"A very nice little room for Madame," said the waiter, 


i 9 i 7 

and moving to the bed he slapped it and gave the mat- 
tress a pinch which did not seem to be merely profes- 
sional. "Very clean, you see, Madame. Very comfort- 
able, with electric light and running water." 

She could hardly repress a cold shiver of horror. She 
said dully: 

"No, I do not like this room at all. And besides it 
has not got a good table. I must have a good table in 
my room." 

"A table, Madame!" said the Waiter, and as he straight- 
ened up, his very feather duster seemed to be printed 
on his blue linen apron like a big exclamation mark of 
astonishment. "A table! But Madame desires a bed? 
Madame desires a bed as well as a table, riest-cc pas, 

She did not reply to the fool. "Show me a large 
room!" she said. As he took some sliding, gliding steps 
to the door, she had the fancy that he was about to waltz 
down the passage in a frenzy of delighted amusement. 

"Mais voila une belle chambrc!" said the waiter, stop- 
ping in front of another grey-painted door, and laying 
across the palm of his hand the bunch of jingling keys. 
He cocked his head on one side, selecting the right 
one. "But it's dear, you understand. It costs six francs 
a day, and without breakfast. You understand, Mad- 
ame ? Six francs." To make this perfectly clear he held 

' / 


up six keys arranged like a fan. At that moment she 
would have paid sixty just to be rid of that grinning 
ape, just to have the right to shut the door upon him. 

But it really was a very charming room—big— square 
— with windows on two sides. A white wallpaper, pink 
carpet and arm-chair, with a dab of faded white lace 
on the back, and a dab on cither arm— yellow waxed 
furniture, and a table-cover of blue cloth. Very nice — 
very nice indeed. She put her hands on the table. It 
was steady as a rock. 

"Madame is pleased?'* asked the waiter. 

"Yes." She told him she would take the room, and 
he was to have her luggage sent immediately. 

When he had gone, and the door really was shut, she 
behaved quite wildly for a minute or two, and ran about, 
flinging up her arms and crying "Oh, oh!" as though 
she had just been rescued from a shipwreck or a burn- 
ing house. Between the charming net curtains, through 
one window she could sec across a square to the rail- 
ing of what looked like a park, full of yellowing trees. 
The other looked over a street of little cafes half-hidden 
under striped awnings, and enchanting little shops. One 
was a confectioner's shop with a big white shoe in the 
window, filled with silver chocolates, and one was a 
florist's. A woman knelt on the step; outside were flat 
yellow baskets of flowers. Then there was a tiny hat- 


i 9 i 7 

shop filled with black hats and crepe veils. How tiny 
the people looked, as she peered down upon them — so 
squat and broad! They sauntered from side to side like 
little black crabs. Really, this room was almost perfect 
in this way — absolutely, scrupulously clean. She would 
be very happy there; this was exactly what she had imag- 
ined. . . . With flowers, with her books arranged, and 
one or two odd pieces of bright silk that she always 
• travelled with, and her lovely embroidered shawl £ung 
over the settee, and her writing things out on the table 
— really . . . 

There came a bang at the door, followed by a little 
red-haired boy staggering under the weight of her suit- 
cases. He was very pale, with big splashes of freckles 
on his nose and under his eyes, and so out of breath 
that he could not even ask her where she wanted the 
luggage put, but stood, his head craned forward, his 
mouth open, to suck in die unaccustomed air. She over- 
paid him, and he went away. But with the generous 
coin she seemed to have given to him all her excitement 
and her delight. The door shut upon it; it was free. 
The sound of it died away. 

In the mirror she saw again that strange watchful 
creature who had been her companion on the journey, 


that woman with white cheeks and dark eyes and lips 
whose secret she shared, but whose air of stealthy des- 
peration baffled and frightened her, and seemed some- 
how quite out of her control. 

She said to herself, as she stroked her muff, "Keep 
calm!" But it was too late. She had no more power 
over herself. She stammered: "I must, you know. . . . 
I must have love. ... I can't live without love, you 
know . . . it's not . . ." At the words that block of 
ice which had become her bosom melted into warm 
tears, and she felt these tears in great warm ripples flow- 
ing over her whole body. Yes, she wept as it were from 
head to foot. She bowed herself over her darling fa- 
miliar muff and felt that she would dissolve* away in 
tears. It was all over — all over. What was all over? 
Everything. The battle was lost. 

(January igiy) 


At half-past two the servant girl stumped along the 
narrow passage from the kitchen to the dining-room, 
thrust her head in at the door and shouted in her loud, 
impudent voice: "Well, I'm off, Mrs. Eichelbaum. I'll 
be here to-morrow, Mrs. Eichelbaum." MufH waited 


i 9 i 7 

until she heard the servant's steps crunch down the 
gravel path, heard the gate creak and slam, listened 
until those steps died away quite, and silence like a 
watchful spider began to spin its silent web over the 
little house. Everything changed. The white curtains 
bulged and blew out as though to the first breath of a 
mysterious breeze, blowing from nowhere; the dark 
furniture swelled with rich important life; all the plates 
.on the sideboard, the pictures and ornaments, gleamed 
as though they shone through water; even the lilies, the 
faded lilies flung all over the green wallpaper, solemnly 
uncurled again, and she could hear the clock, ticking 
away, trotting away, galloping away ... a rider with 
a dark plume round his hat riding on a white horse 
down a lonely road in the moonlight. 

Stealthy as a little cat Mufli crept into the kitchen, up 
the stairs into their bedroom and the children's room, 
down again and into the study, to make sure that no- 
body was there, and then she came back to the dining- 
room and folded herself upon the shabby sofa before 
the window, her feet tucked under her, her hands shut 
in her lap. 

The window of the dining-room looked out on to 

a paddock covered with long grass and ragged bushes. 

In one corner lay a heap of bricks, in another a load of 

timber was tumbled. Round three sides of the paddock 



there reared up three new houses, white, unsubstantial, 
puffed up in the air like half-baked meringues. A fourth 
was being built; only the walls and criss-cross beams 
showed. Everything that afternoon was blurred with 
a thick sea mist, and somewhere in the paddock, cut 
of sight, a man was playing the cornet. He must have 
been walking about while he played, for sometimes the 
notes sounded loud and harsh, full of despair and threat- 
ening anger, sometimes they came from far away, bub- 
bles of melancholy sound floating on the swaying mist. 


Tiddle-um tiddle-um 

Ta tiddlcy-um turn ta. 

There was nobody to be seen and nothing to be heard 
except that cornet and the tap of hammers in the hol- 
low house. 

"It's autumn," thought Muffi. Her lips trembled, tast- 
ing the mist and the cold air. "Yes, it's autumn." 

Not that she felt sad. No, she merely responded, just 
as she held up her face to the sun and wrapped herself 
together against the rain. It was not Muffi's nature to 
rebel against anything. 

Why should she? What good would it do? She ac- 
cepted life with cowlike female stupidity, as Max put it. 


i '9 i ■ 7 

"And you arc like all women," he would sneer. "You 
love to make men believe that you are rarer beings, more 
delicately attuned than they. . . . Nothing surprises 
me," Max would squeak in a mincing voice, flirting his 
fat hand, "nothing alarms me, I knew that it was going 
to rain, I knew that we were going to miss the train, I 
knew that my children would catch cold. I have my 
celestial messengers. But any man old enough to shave 
•himself knows that divine calm is simply your lack of 
imagination, and that no woman ever feels anything — 
once she is out of bed." 

The children loved their father when he began to talk 
like that. He would v/alk up and down the room, hold- 
ing up his coat-tails for a skirt, laughing and jeering 
at women and at their imbecile unbelievable vanity. 
. . . The children used to sit at the table and bang with 
their fists and clap their hands and jump up and down. 
"Ah, Papa! Ah, my Papa! My darling clever little 
Papa!" Rudi would cry; but Katerina, who was eleven 
years old and quite a woman, realised that Papa really 
meant Muffi when he tiptoed and squeaked, and therein 
lay her joy. 

Muffi smiled too, and when Rudi, quite overcome, 
would fling himself upon her, crying breathlessly: 
"Isn't it wonderful, my Papa ?" she would answer: "Yes, 
he is wonderful." What did it matter ? 



Tiddlc-um tiddlc-um 

Ta tiddlcy-um turn ta 

went the cornet. She had never heard it before. She 
hoped it was not going to be there every afternoon. 
Perhaps it was the sea mist that had brought it. What 
was the player like? He was an old man wearing a 
peaked cap and his grey beard was hung with a web 
of bright drops. She smiled; he stood before her, the 
cornet under his arm, wiping his face with a coloured 
handkerchief that smelt of tar. . . . Tell me, why do 
you play the cornet ? . . . Now he was gone again, sit- 
ting perhaps behind the heap of timber, far away, and 
playing more forlornly than ever. . . . 

She stirred and sighed and stretched herself. 

"What am I going to do this afternoon ?" thought 
MufK. Every day she asked herself that question, and 
every day it ended in her doing just the same thing — 
nothing at all. In the winter she lay in front of the 
fire, staring at the bright dazzle; in summer she sat at 
the open window and watched the breeze skim through 
the long gleaming grass, and then those ragged bushes 
were covered with tiny cream flowers; and in autumn 
and winter she sat there too, only then the window was 
shut. Some days a sea mist covered everything, and 
other days the wild hooting south wind blew as if it 


i 9 i 7 

meant to tear everything off" the earth, tear everything 
up by the roots aad send it spinning. She did not even 
think or dream. No, as she sat there, ever so faintly smil- 
ing, with something mocking in the way her eyelids 
lay upon her eyes, she looked like a person waiting for 
a train that she knew would not come, never would 
by any chance carry her away, did not even exist. . . . 

During the afternoon the baker's boy came and left 
a loaf on the kitchen window sill. The round basket 
on his back always reminded her of a snail's shell. "Here 
comes the snail," she would say. Three times a week an 
awful butcher, a man so raw and red and willing to 
oblige that she always felt if he hadn't the pound and 
a half of steak she wanted he'd be quite willing to cut 
it off his own person and never notice the diflcrence. 
. . . And very, very rarely, two shabby old nuns wheel- 
ing a perambulator knocked at the door and aslced her 
if she had any scraps or bits of things for the orphan 
children at Lyall Bay. . . . No, she never had, but she 
liked very much seeing them at her door, smiling so 
gently, their hands tucked in their sleeves. They made 
her feel so small somehow, so like an orphan child her- 
self. One of them always did the talking, and the other 
kept silent. 

"You're not married, are you?" asked the talkative 
nun on one occasion. 


"Oh, yes," said Muffi. 

"Glory be!" cried the old nun, and seemed positively 
to wring her hidden hands in horror. 

"You've no children?" she asked, her old mouth fall- 
ing open. 

"Yes, I've a little boy of seven." 

"Mother of God!" cried the old nun, and that day 
they went away pushing the perambulator very slowly, 
as though it were heavy with the incredible news. 

Any time after five o'clock the children came home 
from school. . . . 

Five o'clock struck. Muffi got up from the sofa to 
put the kettle on for their tea. She was bending over 
the kitchen stove when someone tapped on the window. 
Rudi. Yes, there he was tapping on the window, smil- 
ing and nodding. Ah, the darling. He was home early. 
She flew to the back door and just had time to open it 
... to hold out her arms and in he tumbled. 

"You're early. You darling. You're so beautifully 
early," she stammered, kissing and hugging him. How 
wet and cold his checks were; and his fingers, even his 
fringe was damp. For a moment he could not speak. 
He might have been a little boy picked out of the sea, 
so breathless and exhausted was he. At last he swal- 


lowed twice and gave a final gasping sigh. 

"I'm simply sopping from this mist," he panted. "Feel 
my cap, MufE. Drenched!" 

"Drenched," said she, kneeling down to take off his 
reefer jacket. 

"Oh, I'm still so out of breath," he cried, stamping 
and wriggling his way out of the sleeves. "I simply 
flew home." 

"Let me jump you on the table and take off your 
boots, my precious." 

"Oil, no!" He had got back his self-contained delib- 
erate little voice. "I can take off my own boots, Muffi, 
I always do." 

"Ah, no! Let me," she pleaded. "Just this once. Just 
for a treat." 

At that he threw back his head and looked at her, his 
eyes dancing. 

"Well, you have got funny ideas of a treat." 

"Yes," said she. "I know I have. Awfully funny 
ideas. Now the other foot, old man." 

When she had finished, he sat on the table edge and 
swung his leg, pouting and frowning, and showing off 
just a tiny bit. He knew, as he sat there, that he was 
the most loved little boy in the world, the most ad- 
mired, the most cherished. And Mum let him know it. 
They were alone together so seldom; they could not 


afford to pretend, to waste a moment. He seemed to 
realise that. He s?id: "Katcrina will be home in a min- 
ute. I passed her on my way, dawdling along with 
that Lily Tar. I can't stand Lily Tar, MufH. She's always 
got her arm round someone and she's always whisper- 

"Don't bother about her," said Mufli, as much as to 
say: "If Lily Tar dares to get in your way I shall see 
that she is destroyed instantly." Lily Tar was gone. He 
looked down at his little red paws. 

"My fingers are so stiff," he said. 'Til never be able 
to practise." 

"Sit down on the hassock here before the fire and 
give them a good warm." 

"It's very nice down here," he decided after a mo- 
ment. "I love being down low and looking up at things 
— don't you? At people moving and. the legs of chairs 
and tables and the shadows on the floor." His voice 
tailed off, dreamy and absorbed. She let him be. She 
thought: "He is getting back to himself after that hor- 
rible rowdy school." But a moment later the front door 
slammed and Katcrina came into the kitchen. 

"Hullo!" said she, very airy. "Why did you tear home 
so, Rudi? Lily and I could not help screaming at the 
way you were rushing along." 

"I heard you," said Rudi. "I knew you meant me to 


i 9 i 7 

hear, didn't you?" At that she opened her big velvety 
eyes at him and laughed. 

"What a baby you are!" 

"But you did, didn't you?" he protested. 

"Of course not," she jeered. "We were laughing at 
something quite different." 

"But you just said you were laughing at me, Katerina." 

"Oh, only in a way," she drawled. 

Rudi jumped up. "Oh, Katerina," he wailed, "why 
do you tell such awful stories?" 

Mum's back was turned, so Katerina made a hideous 
face at him and sat down at the table. All the while 
she was eating her tea Katerina could not help smiling 
her strange little cat smile. The lids fell over her eyes 
as though she were basking before some mysterious 
warm secret that she would never share with a baby 
boy. When she helped herself to jam, holding the jam 
spoon high up in the air and letting the jam fall in 
red blobs on her bread, Rudi hated her so much he 
gave a great shudder of horror and pushed back his 
chair. Again she opened those big pansy velvet eyes 
and again the wide surprised stare. 

"What is the matter, now?" asked Katerina. 

But that was too much for Rudi. He couldn't under- 
stand it, no, he couldn't. "Muffi, why docs she do it? 
How can she?" 


But Mufli gave barely a sign. "Don't tease him so, 
Katcrina!" she said. She poured some warm water into 
a basin and gave Rudi a thin shave of soap. And as he 
washed his hands he turned to her. . . . 

Strange Visitor 

It was neither dark nor light in the cabin. The ring 
of the port-hole shone very bright and cold, like the 
eye of some huge dead bird. In that eye you saw an 
immense stretch of grey, waving water — a vague sky 
above — and between, a few huge live birds flying so 
aimless and uncertain they didn't look like birds at all, 
but like bits of wave, torn ofT, or just shadows. 

Shadows, too, birds of shadow, flew across the cabin 
ceiling — across its whiteness, iron girders, splashes of 
rust, big nails coated with paint, paint blisters. There 
was a strange gleam on the walls. A tiny day seemed 
to be breaking all on its own in the mirror above the 
washstand, and another tide rose and fell in the thick 

It was cold. The damp air smcllcd of paint and rub- 
ber and sea-water. The only thing of life in the silent 
cabin was the little doll-like curtain hanging at the port- 
hole. In the quiet it lifted— lifted— fluttered— then blew 


i 9 i 7 

out straight and stiff, tugging at the rings. And then 
gently, gently, it fell again; again it folded, drooped, 
only to begin puff-puffing out once more, stretching out 
stiff, with only a quiver, dancing a secret dance as it 
were, while those birds of silence chased over the ceil- 
ing. The minute day deepened very slowly in the mir- 
ror, and in the thick bottle rose and ebbed the heavy 

". . . But, my dear child, it's no earthly use simply 
to say that youvc lost it. That won't help you. How 
can it? You must stir yourself, rouse yourself — begin 
looking for it. It must be somewhere. Things don't 
simply disappear, vanish into thin air. You know that 
as well as I do. Pull yourself together! Concentrate! 
Now, when did you last have it? When did you first 
realise it was gone? When did you feel that terrific 
shock — that 'Good heavens! where on earth . . .' ? 
Don't you know ? You must remember that. 

"And o-oh! don't mind my laughing, darling, but 
you look so tragic. I can't help saying it is so exactly 
like you, so just the sort of thing that would be bound 
to happen to you of all people. One might almost say 
that you've been working up to it, don't you know, all 
your life. 

"Lost, stolen or strayed. We shall have to advertise. 
Three shillings a line for the first two lines, and some- 


thing enormous a word afterwards. You don't think 
I'm cruel, do you, pet ? Everything has its funny side, 
hasn't it? And if one can bring one's sense of humour 
to bear upon a thing, what can be better? Don't you 
agree? Of course, I'm a philosopher. I don't believe 
there's a single thing we aren't really better without. 
But I can't expect you to agree with that. Cheer up! 
We've only one life after all. That's cheap, I know — 
but you could not say a truer thing — not even if you 
were willing to spend millions on it. 

"If I were you, I should put it all out of my mind — 
make a fresh start — behave as though it was not. Ah, I 
know that sounds hard to you now, girlie. (You don't 
mind my calling you 'girlie' and just patting your hand 
as I do? I enjoy it. And the tremor you can get on 
'girlie'! Marvellous!) But Time heals all. Not with 
his scythe, dear. No, with his egg-timer. My facetious 
way of saying his hour-glass. Ha! Ha! Ha! . . . you 
hate me, I know. Well, I'm just going. But one day, 
if you are honest with yourself, you will remember, and 
you will say, Yes, she was right and I was wrong — she 
was wise and I was foolish." 

The odious little creature, who had been sitting on 
the edge of the lower berth, drew on a pair of dirty 
white kid gloves, tucked her tail under her arm, gave a 
loud high cackle, and vanished. 


The figure on the bunk gave no sign. She lay on her 
back, her arms stretched clown by her sides, her feet just 
touching the wooden rim at the end of the berth, the 
sheet up to her chin. Very pale, frowning, she stared 
at the spot where the little monkey had been sitting, shut 
her eyes, opened them, looked again — nobody was there. 
And the night was over. It was too late to expect any- 
body else. 

She shut her eyes again. A great loud pulse beat in 
her body. Or was it in the ship ? In the ship. She had 
no body. She just had hands and feet and a head — 
nothing else at all. Of course, they were joined together 
by something, but not more than the stars of the South- 
ern Cross were joined together. How otherwise could 
she feel so light, so light ? 

There is No Answer 

Certainly it was cold, very cold. When she opened 
her lips and drew in a breath she could taste the cold 
air on her tongue, like a piece of ice. But though she 
shivered so and held her muff tightly pressed against 
her to stop the strange, uneasy trembling in her stom- 
ach, she was glad of the cold. It made her feel, in those 
first strange moments, less strange and less alone; it 


allowed her to pretend in those first really rather terri- 
fying moments that she was a tiny part of the life of 
the town — that she could, as it were, join in the game 
without all the other children stopping to stare and to 
point at the entirely new little girl. True, there had been 
two seconds when she was a forlorn little creature, con- 
spicuous and self-conscious, stuffing her luggage ticket 
into her glove and wondering where to go to next; but 
then, from nowhere, she was pelted with that incredible 
snowball of cold air, and she started walking away from 
the station, quickly, quickly . , . 

In all probability those simple people passing, so 
stout and red, those large, cheerful bundles with a 
friendly eye for her, imagined that she was some young 
wife and mother who had arrived home unexpectedly 
because she could not bear to be away another moment. 
And while she walked down the station hill quickly, 
quickly, she smiled — she saw herself mounting a flight 
of shallow waxed stairs, pulling an old-fashioned red 
velvet bell-cord, putting her finger to her lips when the 
ancient family servant (her old nurse, of course) would 
have cried the house about her, and rustling into the 
breakfast room where her husband sat drinking coffee 
and her little son stood in front of him with his hands 
behind his back, reciting something in French. But 
now her husband grew long cars and immense bony 


knuckles, and now she was Anna, kneeling on the floor 
and raising her veil the better to embrace and clasp her 
darling Serozha. 

Which was all very well, but what a time and place 
to choose for this nonsensical dreaming! She had bet- 
ter find a cafe where she could have breakfast and de- 
vour the hotel list with her coffee. By now she was 
right "in the town" and walking down a narrow street 
full of half-open shops. She bought a newspaper from 
an old hag squatting beside a kiosk, her skirt turned 
back over her knees, munching a mash of bread and 
soup, and was just going into a discreet "suitable-look- 
ing" cafe when she saw a lovely flower stall. The flower 
seller knelt on the pavement surrounded by a litter of 
flat yellow baskets. She took out and shook, and held 
up to the critical light bunch after buncli of round, 
bright flowers. Jonquils and anemones, roses and mari- 
golds, plumes of mimosa, lilics-of-thc-valley in a bed of 
wool, stocks of a strange pink, like the eyes ol: white 
rabbits, and purple and white violets that one longed 
not only to smell but to press against one's lips and 
almost to cat. Oh, how she loved flowers! What a pas- 
sion she had for them and how much they meant to 
her! Yes, they meant almost everything. And while 
she watched the woman arrange her wares in tin cups 
and glasses and round china jars she was strangely con- 


scious of the early morning life of this foreign town. 
She heard it, she felt it flowing about her as though she 
and the flowers stood together on an island in' the mid- 
dle of a quick flowing river — but the flowers were more 
real. And the crowning joy and wonder that she was 
perfectly free to look at them, to "take them in" for 
just as long as she liked. . . . For the first time she 
drank a long heady draught of this new wine, freedom. 
There was no one at her elbow to say: "But, my dear, 
this is not the moment to rave about flowers" — no one 
to tell her that hotel bedrooms were more important 
than marigolds, not a soul who simply by standing 
there could make her realise that she was in all prob- 
ability in an abnormal, hysterical state through not hav- 
ing slept all night. So she drank the cup to the sweet 
dregs and bought an armful of mixed beauties and car- 
ried them into the cafe with her. 

They were heaped on the table beside her and their 
scent mingled with the delicious smell of the coffee, and 
the cigarette she smoked was too sweet, too exciting to 
bear. She almost felt that the flowers, in some fairy 
fashion, changed into wreaths and garlands and lay on 
her lifting bosom and pressed on her brow until she 
bent her head, gazing with half-shut eyes at the white 
ring of the cup and the white ring of the saucer, the 
round, white shape of the pot and jug and the four 


i 9 i 7 

crossed pieces of sugar on the table, at the cigarettes, 
spilled out of a yellow wrapper, and her little hands, 
folded together, so mysteriously, as though they held a 

"Daisy! Daisy! giv me your onzc heures, do!" 

sang someone. She looked up. A young man in a light 
tweed cap stood against the counter, playing with a 
black kitten. Except for the flat-footed old waiter who 
shuffled among the tables at the far end like a forlorn 
aged crab, she and the young man were quite alone in 
the cafc\ The kitten was very tiny; it could net even 
walk yet. It knew all about what to do with the front 
half of itself, but its two little black legs were the trou- 
ble. They wanted to jump along, or to bound along in 
a kind of minute, absurd gallop. How very confusing 
it was! But the young man leaning over the counter 
and singing "Daisy! Daisy!" hadn't a grain of pity in 
him. He threw the kitten over, rolled it into a ball, 
tickled it, held it up by its front paws and made it dance, 
let it almost escape, and then pounced on it again and 
made it bite its own tail. 

"Giv me your onze heures, do!" 

he sang, in his swaggering, over-emphasised fashion. 
She decided he knew perfectly well that someone was 
watching and listening. . . . "But how wonderfully 


at home he looks," she thought. "Mow lazily, how 
lightly he leans and stretches, as though it were impos- 
sible for anything to upset his easy balance, and as 
though if he chose, he' could play with life just as he 
played with the kitten, tumble it over, tickle it, stand 
it on its hind legs and make it dance for him." 

Quite suddenly the young man threw the kitten away, 
caught up his glass of dark purplish coffee, and facing 
her he began to sip and stare. Cool, cool beyond meas- 
ure, he took his time, narrowed his eyes, crossed his 
feet and had a good, good look at her. Well — why 
not? She took another cigarette, tapped it on the table, 
and lighted it, but for all her manner a malignant lit- 
tle voice in her brain warned her: "Keep calm!" She 
felt his eyes travel over her big bunch of flowers, over 
her muff and gloves and handbag, until they rested 
finally upon her, where she sat with her purple veil 
thrown back and her travelling cape with the fur col- 
lar dropping off her shoulders. Her heart beat up hot 
and hard; she pressed her knees together like a fright- 
ened girl and the malignant little voice mocked: "If 
you were perfectly certain that he was admiring you, 
you would not mind at all. On the contrary . . ." 

Then just as suddenly as he had turned he wheeled 
round again and stood with his back towards her. 
Again he began to sing: 


"Daisy! Daisy! giv mc your onze heures, doP* 

Was it just her fancy or did she really detect in his 
shoulders and in his twanging voice, real, laughing con- 
tempt . . • ? Wasn't he singing again just to show 
her that he had looked and seen quite enough, thank 
you? But what did it matter — an insolent, underbred 
boy! What on earth had she to do with him! She 
tapped with her spoon for the waiter, paid, gathered 
up her flowers, her mufr, her bag, and keeping her 
eyes fixed on the cafe door as though she was not per- 
fectly certain whether it was the door or not, she walked 
out into the street. 

It had positively grown colder while she was. in that 
cafe. The sun was hidden for a moment behind a wing 
of cloud and the clatter and rattle of the morning traf- 
fic pouring over the cobbles sounded so loud and harsh 
that it bruised her nerves. How tired she was — very 
tired! She must find a room and escape from this street 
immediately. It was ridiculous to walk about like this 
after a racking night in the train. She longed to take 
ofl her tired clothes, and to lie in a hot bath smelling 
of carnation crystals. At the thought of gliding between 
incredibly smooth gleaming sheets she gave a nervous 
shiver of delight. 


"But what has happened to your blissful happiness 
of half an hour ago?" mocked the tiny voice. No, no, 
she wouldn't listen! . . . 

If only she could get rid of this absurd bunch of 
flowers. They made her look ridiculous, feel ridiculous 
— feel like a gushing schoolgirl returned from a school 
picnic. What would the hotel people think when she 
arrived without any luggage but "simply" carrying flow- 

"Very touching! Dear me — really!" she stormed; 
"you might have waited!" If only she could find some 
place to throw them away! 

"Do not throw us away!" pleaded the flowers. No, 
she wouldn't be so cruel. But how she hated them! And 
she hid them under her cape, like a lady in a melo- 
drama trying to hide a baby, she thought, as she pushed 
through the swing doors of an hotel. 

Late afternoon. She woke, she opened her eyes but 
did not move — did not move a finger. She lay so still 
that she tricked her body into believing that she was 
still asleep. All warm and relaxed it lay, breathing 
deeply and beating with slow, soft pulses. . . . 


i 9 i 7 

77/<r Pessimist 

After luncheon the weather was so enchanting (en- 
chanting was the word that week-end; it had been 
brought from town by Moyra Moore and everybody 
was using it), the day was so perfectly enchanting that 
they wandered into the garden and cofTcc was served 
under the — yes, actually — spreading chestnut tree. The 
three Pckes and the baby Pekums who had just had 
their dinner of underdone steak mixed with a morsel 
of heart and the merest dash of liver, their favourite 
combination, started an intricate game of chase in and 
out of people's ankles which was slightly bewildering. 
But nobody really minded except the Cabinet Min- 
ister, who was terrified of being bitten; he shook his 
finger at the little loves and said, "Not so fast, my young 
friends!" in a would-be-playful tone that didn't deceive 
a soul — least of all the Pekes. 

The hostess stood at the table pouring out the cofTee. 
In her yellow muslin dress with a green silk hat, green 
stockings and black satin shoes, she felt wonderfully 
like a character out of the Russian ballet. She lifted 
the quaint pots with strange little angular gestures, 
and when she had filled a thimble she held it up high 
in the air and cried "CofTee! CofTee!" as though she 
were summoning her little negro page. 


Moyra Moore, kneeling on the grass before a tulip, — 
she always knelt before the flowers she admired . . . 
could one do less? — murmured, "It's quite as good as 
a Matisse. I mean the line is quite as strange. Real 
flowers are often so dreadfully cosy-looking — don't you 
think?'* And the young gentleman of the moment, 
v/ho was trying hard to live up to this, heard himself 
say — but could not stop himself — "Roses are very nice, 
aren't they?" 

On the garden bench under the billowy tree sat a 
little lady with a fan and sucli a large comb in her hair 
that every time you looked at her it gave you a fresh 
small shock. Was it so big as that last time? . . . Be- 
side her sat a fair woman smiling the trembling per- 
petual smile that hovers on the lips of young mothers; 
as a matter of fact, she had just published her first novel. 
"It was just out," as she told everybody, smiling into the 
distance as if she saw it being wheeled away in a white 
perambulator. And at the end of the bench a very 
dark young man stretched his legs and blew smoke 
rings. He was writing a play, "Freud Among the 
Ruins," which was going to be accepted by the Theatre 
Society as soon as it was finished, though they had given 
him no definite date when it was to be produced, as yet. 
... A very young poet hovered under the tree looking 
up through the branches. The hostess did wish he would 


i 9 i 7 

sit down. One could not really look as vague as that. 
And besides it would give the Cabinet Minister such 
a wrong impression. 

"Coffee, Spencer! Your coffee is here," she cried play- 

What was there about the couple in cane chairs on 
the other side of the table that kept them ju;;t a little 
out of the picture? He was tall, lean, with a long, 
clean-shaven face that looked dreamy. . . . And she 
was one of those women . . . one of those women who 
still exist in spite of everything. True, they are rare, 
but were they ever anything but rare ? Where do they 
come from and what happens to them? Have they 
ever been young girls? Will they ever become old 
ladies? One cannot imagine them except between 
thirty and forty. They arc exquisite, elusive, flawless- 
looking, with slow movements, perfect hands and per- 
fect hair. When they travel, their luggage is a paper of 
parma violets or a few long-stemmed yellow roses, 
while in the background hovers the ideal maid with 
the russia leather dressing-case and the fur-coat lined 
with oyster brocade. Their jewel is pearls — pearl ear- 
rings — a string of pearls — pearls on their fingers. And 
the curious thing is that whatever they say — and they 
seldom say anything very remarkable — "I always sleep 


in my pearls," or "I am afraid I know very little about 
modern music," or "I always think it's so clever to be 
able to write," — one feels charmed and gratified— and 
even a little carried away. Why? 

"Dearest!" said Moyra Moore, coming over to the 
hostess and stroking her cheek with a poor pale tulip. 
"Do tell me about the spreading chestnut tree! Was it 
before my time or after?" 

"Oh, you wicked child!" said the hostess, looking 


regretfully at the tulip. 
But the poet piped: "It was a poem by Longfellow!" 
At that the dark young man sat up suddenly and 
stopped making rings. "Goldsmith, please!" he said 
shortly, as though Goldsmith was a friend of his, and 
that really was a bit too steep. 

The young poet looked as if he were going to cry. 
"Oh, come now," said the Cabinet Minister pleasantly. 
The hostess sighed with relief that they had begun 
to talk about something simple enough for him to join 
in. "Surely it was Longfellow. It was certainly Long- 
fellow in my young days." And because he was a 
Cabinet Minister, they all smiled knowingly as though 
he had said something quite amusing — all but the dark 
young man, who looked terrible. 


i 9 i 7 

"Under the spreading chestnut tree 
The village smithy stands," 

said the lady v/ith the fan. "IVe always wanted to ask, 
but IVe never dared to. Was he the same smith as that 
dreadful harmonious one that one used to have to prac- 
tise on the cold piano in the early' mornings?" 

"But that's by Handel," murmured the lady novelist. 

The dark young man spoke again. "Haydn, please," 
he said. 

At that the Cabinet Minister looked quite distressed. 
What a bother it was! thought the hostess. They were 
really worrying him. 

"I am afraid," he said, still quite pleasantly, "you're 
not quite right in your facts. I fancy — in fact I feel 
quite certain on this point — the name was Handel." 

But this time the dark young man refused to be sub- 

"I thought that Samuel Butler had proved that Han- 
del didn't exist." 

"Samuel Butler!" cried the Cabinet Minister. But 
he was obviously staggered. "Then how on earth — how 
on earth does he account for the Messiah?" 

"The Messiah!" cooed Moyra Moore, and waved the 
tulip like a wandering angel. 

But that was too much for the hostess. She ran to 


the rescue of the Cabinet Minister. "You must come, 
you must come and see my asparagus," she pleaded. 
"It's so wonderful this year." 

The Cabinet Minister was delighted, and away they 

The little lady with the fan tinkled with laughter. 

"But— do look at his trousers!" she cried. "They arc 
just like crackers. Chinese crackers after a funeral. If 
only the ends were cut into fringes!" 

The couple in the cane chairs stirred too. "Do you 
care . . . ?" he murmured. 

"I should like to," murmured she, and they too wan- 
dered across the brilliant green lawn. 

"I wonder what they are saying about me," said the 
tall man gloomily. 

The pearl lady opened her grey sunshade and smiled 
faintly. "It's quite hot," she said. 

At the words he put his hand to his head with a look 
of alarm. "Hot I My God, so it is! Do you mind wait- 
ing here for a moment while I get my hat?" And he 
said something about the heat being fatal as he strode 

She bent towards a huge creamy magnolia flower 
and smellcd it with that distrait expression with which 
women smell a cake of soap or a sachet while waiting 
at the chemist's shop. 


Back he came really adorned with a wide, silver-grey 

"I'm afraid I don't quite know," said the hostess 
vaguely. "He used to ride with my brothers — years 
ago. I remember he once had an extraordinary acci- 
dent — well, hardly an accident. But they were all dis- 
mounting and his foot got jammed in the stirrup. He'd 
no idea it was caught, and he fell off — exactly like the 
White Knight — and there he lay with one foot in the 
air . . ." 

"But how too odd for words!" said the lady with 
the fan. 

"And he doesn't look the type those things happen 
to," mused the lady novelist. 

"Did you notice at lunch he upset his wine?" said 
an animated young thing who seemed to belong to no- 
body and to thirst to be adopted by somebody — any- 

"No! did he? How too tiresome!" wailed the hostess. 
"My lovely cloth!" 

"Yes, and he said," cried the young thing, revelling 
in her success, "I dreamed last night I was going to do 
this . . ." 

At that moment there came a sharp pit-pat on the 
crown of his hat. 


"Good Lord!" he said. "A drop of rain. How extraor- 
dinary!" But when he took of! his hat to see, he laughed 
bitterly. "That's done it," he said. 'That's finished it, 

And a tiny bird that had been perched on the tree 
just above their heads flew away and its wings sounded 
like breathless laughing. 

But the weather was still enchanting! 

Last Words to Youth 

There was a woman on the station platform — a tall 
scrag of a woman, wearing a little round hat with a 
brown feather, that dropped in a draggled fringe over 
her eyes. She was dressed in a brown jacket, and a nar- 
row brown skirt, and in her bare hand she clutched a 
broken-down-looking leather bag — the outside pockets 
bulging with — what looked like — old torn-up envel- 
opes. Round her neck some indescribable dead animal 
bit its own tail: its fur standing up wet and sticky like 
the fur of a drowned kitten. Brown buttoned boots 
showed under the brown skirt and an end of white 
petticoat dabbled with mud. The toss and tumble, the 
hurrying threading rush of movement left her high and 
dry. She stood as though she were part of the furni- 
ture of the station and had been there for years— an old 


automatic machine that nobody dreamed of slipping a 
coin into — or even troubled to glance at to find out what 
once it contained — whether a drop of white rose per- 
fume or a cachet or deux cigarettes h la relne d'Egypte. 
Even the porters seemed to accept her right to stand 
there, and all the people clambering out of the train, 
the pale women bunched up in furs, stout unshaven 
men buttoned up in overcoats, simply did not see her, 
but met their friends and lovers and kissed and chat- 
tered and squabbled under her very nose. 

"There is something revolting about her, something 
humble and resigned — almost idiotic," thought Marion, 
and she sat down on her hat-box, waiting for that mys- 
terious porter, who had appeared and disappeared to find 
a truck, to trundle her things into the cloak-room. "I 
wish he would come — I'm cold — I really am quite dan- 
gerously cold." She clutched her muff tight against 
her, to stop the strange trembling shivers that rippled 
over her whole body; but now she could not control 
two little muscles in her cheek bones that moved up 
and down like tiny pistons. "No, I never sleep in trains," 
she said to nobody at all, "and, my dear, you have no 
conception of the heat in that carriage — the windows 
simply ran. There was a strange pale female opposite 
to me, all wrapped up in black shawls which she called 
her chiflotjs. In the middle of the night when evcry- 


body was asleep she rooted among her baggage, spread 
a white handkerchief on her lap, produced what I tried 
to believe was the end of a cold rabbit, tearing at the 
little legs, cracking up the bones and swaying about 
in the swinging half-dark as she munched — like the 
portrait of a mad baby-farmer by that Belgian — what is 
his name? Wierz. . . . Yes, it was a very sinister, 
blackish little meal," said Marion, and she smiled, think- 
ing with half-aflccted dismay, "Heavens! I seem to be 
haunted by mad women — that woman last night and 
now this mad one this morning. A mad woman at 
ni<du is a sailor's delight — a mad woman in the morn- 
ing is a sailor's warning," and she looked up to see the 
draggled bird moving towards her. Yes, she certainly 
was very ominous indeed. . . . Heavens! What was 
she wearing? How absurd! How preposterous! Pinned 
to her jacket a knot of faded ribbon set off a large heart- 
shaped ticket inscribed . . . "The representative of the 
Society for the Protection of Young Girls/* 

Life is Not Gay 

. . . But at last she was conscious that a choice had 
to be made, that before dawn, these shadows would ap- 
pear less real, making way for something quite difTcr- 
ent. There was no hesitation now. She simply knew 


i 9 i 7 

that she wanted him near her, that he was to her the 
meaning of love and of others — that without him all 
die world was as a little ball rolling over a dark sky. 

Dawn broke, long in coming. She lay in the bed on 
her back, one arm behind her head, a hand on the coun- 
terpane — the window became blue, then suffused with 
gold light, but when she looked at her watch she was 
horrified to find that it was only half-past five o'clock. 
Hours had to be got through somehow — hours and 
hours — and you must remember that time was not the 
sort of thing you could count on at the last to be faith- 
ful or to be just. Now it behaved as it liked — it had 
infinite capacities for lengthening out, for hanging on 
like a white ribbon of road under your two tired feet — 
oh, to have done with it! To run like a little child over 
the long white place, to be there and in his arms! 

She went over to the mirror, took or? her cap, shook 
her hair — and once, adorably seeing his eyes watch her, 
she glanced over her shoulder and smiled — laughingly 
she powdered her face, rouged her lips, and traced with 
the tip of her finger her eyebrows. This was not Kezia, 
this being with . . . 

"An author's vanity is vindictive, implacable, incapable 
of forgiveness; and his sister was the first and only person 
who had laid bare and disturbed that uneasy feeling, which 


is like a big box of crockery, easy to unpack but impossible 
to pack up again as it was before." 

(Tchchov : Excellent People) 

A Version from Heine 

Countess Julia rowed over the Rhine 

In a light boat by clear moonshine. 

The waiting-maid rowed, the Countess said: 

"Do you not see the seven young dead 

That behind us follow 

In the waters shallow? • 

{And the dead swim so sadly!) 

"They were warriors young and gay 

And on my bosom they softly lay 

And swore to be true. To plight our troth, 

That they should never be false to their oath, 

I had them bound 

Straightway and drowned." 

(And the dead swim so sadly I) 

The waiting-maid rowed, but loud laughed she; 

It rang through the night so dreadfully: 

Till at the side the corpses dip 

And dive and waggle a finger-tip; 

As though swearing, they bow 

With ice-glistening brow. 

(And the dead swim so sadly I) 


i 9 i 7 

The Scholarship 

He was just in time. They were pulling down the 
blind in the Post Office when he burst in, pushing his 
way through the swing-doors with a kind of extravagant 
breast-stroke, and: "I can still send a telegram, can't 
I?" he cried to snappy little Miss Smythc, who rapped 
out: "If it's very important you may. Not otherwise!" 

"Oh, it is important, frightfully!" said he, giving her 
such a radiant unexpected beam that it shook two faded 
old banners into her checks. But he did not notice. He 
wrote in his beautiful flowing hand which even in that 
blissful moment he couldn't help admiring: Got it arrive 
by morning boat to-morrow cheers, and pushed it under 
the netting. 

"It will be off to-night, wont it?" he asked, count- 
ing out a whole handful of pennies. 

"Yes, I'll send it now," said she, and her dry little 
pencil hopped over the form. "Is the last word 'cheese' ?" 

"Oh, no!" Again that beam lighting up the dingy 
little woman; even her Krugcr-sovcrcign brooch seemed 
to glow with it. "It's 'cheers,'— three cheers, you know. 
Musical cheers — no, that's wrong." 

He was out again and swinging along the street 
(about two feet up in the air), swinging along the 
street that he'd never seen before. Glorious place! Such 


happy, splendid people hurrying home, their faces and 
hands a deep pink colour in the sunset light. Native 
women, big, dark and bright like dahlias, lolling on 
the benches outside the Grand Hotel. The carts and 
waggons, even the immense two-horse cabs went spank- 
ing by as though every horse's head was turned towards 
home. And then — the shops — fruit shops, a flare of 
gold — fish shops, a blaze of silver! As for the smell 
coming off the flower jars that the florist was spraying 
before he carried them inside for the night — ix really 
knocked you over! That hand, too, hovering in the 
jeweller's window — taking out the little boxes and 
trays. Just a hand — so mysterious, so beautiful! To 
whom could it belong? And then a rolling navvy 
bumped into him and said: "Sorry, my lad!" 

"My lad!" He wanted to fling his arms round the 
chap for it. 

Although there was everything to be done he couldn't 
go home yet. He must walk this off a bit, he must 
climb a hill. Well, that wasn't difficult. The whole 
place was nothing but hills. 

So he chose the steepest, and up and up he went, 
getting warm, then getting his second wind and sim- 
ply floating on it to the very top — to a white painted 
rail against which he leaned and looked over. 

For the first time, yes, positively for the first time, 


i 9 i 7 

he saw the town below him — the red-roofed houses set 
in plumy, waving gardens, the absurd little city-quarter, 
"built in American style," the wharves, the tarred wharf- 
sheds, and behind these black masses two cranes, that 
looked somehow, from this distance, like two gigantic 
pairs of scissors, stuck on end. And then the deep, brim- 
ming harbour, shaped like a crater, in a curving brim 
of hills, just broken in the jagged place to let the big 
ships through. 

For a moment, while he looked, it lay all bathed in 
brightness — so clear — he could have counted the camel- 
lias on the trees — and then, without warning, it was 
dark, quite dark, and lights began to appear, flowering 
in the soft hollows like sea anemones. 

His eyelids smarted. His throat ached; he could have 
wept. He could have flung out his arms, and cried: 
"Oh, my darling, darling little town!" And all because 
he was going to leave it in a week's time — because he 
was off to Europe and God knows — if he'd ever see it 

But instead of the fling he took a deep breath and in 
that breath he discovered how hungry he was. He was 
starving — quite faint with it. Marching down the hill 
his knees shook like an old woman's. 

Down and down he went. There was nobody about 



now because it was supper-time. But the lighted houses 
in their plumy gardens were full of life; they could 
not hold so much. It broke from them, in voices and 
laughter, and scattered over the flowers and trees. 

"Children! Children! come in at once!" called a 
woman. And "Oh, Mother!" answered the children. 

Ah, how well he understood what they were feel- 
ing, poor little beggars! It was no time at all since he 
and Isobel had answered just like that. 

The garden gate was clammy and cold. As he walked 
up the path a bough of syringa brushed his face, wet- 
ting his cheeks and lips. And he smiled, with a strange 
little shiver of delight; he felt that the plant was play- 
ing with him. . . . 

Two oblong pieces of light lay on the grass below 
the french windows of the dining-room. He leapt on 
to the verandah and looked in. There he saw his 
brother-in-law, Kenneth, sitting at the table eating, with 
a book propped up against a glass jug. 

"Hullo-old boy!" said Henry. 

"Hullo!" said Kenneth, and he stared at Henry in 
the solemn absurd way that Henry loved. "You're late. 
Had supper?" 

"Good God — no!" Henry came in and began wiping 
the dew and the pollen off his cheeks. 

"Been crying?" asked Kenneth. "Big boy hit you?" 


i 9 i 7 

4 Tcs," said Henry. 

"Lamb?" Kenneth's glance wandered over the table. 
Finally he took a water biscuit, broke it in half, put 
one half in his book for a marker and began to carve. 
And Henry stood beside him, looking at the glorified 

It was an immense relief to have his hand on Ken- 
neth's shoulder. It rested him. But what was there so 
lovable about that little tuft of hair that always stood 
up and wouldn't lie down on the top of Kenneth's 
head? It was such a part of his personality. Whatever 
he said — there it stood — waving away. Henry gave the 
shoulder a hard squeeze. "I can imagine Isobel marry- 
ing him for that," he thought. 

"Stir the mint sauce well," said Kenneth. "All what 
Maisie calls 'the nice grittay part' is at the bottom." 
Henry sat down, stirred and stirred and pushed the 
mint sauce away. He leaned back in his chair and tried 
not to smile, tried to carry it off, frowned at his plate 
and then said: "Oh, I heard this afternoon I've got that 
Scholarship." He couldn't resist it; he had to look up 
at Kenneth, who didn't give a sign, but rubbed the side 
of his nose in a way he had. 

"Well," he said finally, "I knew you would. It was 

Henry gulped. 


"Have a drink!" Kenneth pushed die glass jug across. 
"Don't swallow the cherries. The stones disembody, 
settle in the appendix, fertilize and send out shoots 
which have, sooner or later, to be snipped off. When 
do you sail?" 

"A week from to-morrow." 

Kenneth was silent. Then he opened his book and 
ate the book-marker. 

"This is all about whales," he explained, blowing off 
the crumbs. 


"It's extraordinarily unpleasant. I shouldn't advise 
anyone to read it. There's a description of sharks, too, 
— how when they are attacked — in the middle of the 
fight — they switch round and eat their own entrails — 
sickening! ... I suppose you wired Isobel." 

"Yes, I'm going over to her by the morning boat. You 
know I promised, if this came off, that we'd spend our 
last week together." 

"But what about packing — or aren't you going to 
take anything ? Just a change of socks and a rook rifle ?" 

"I'm going to do all that to-night," said Henry. And 
then he smiled a blissful, childish smile, "I couldn't 
sleep, you know," and reached over for the salad. 

"Look out for the cowcumbcr," said Kenneth. "It 
sticks to the side of the vessel by some curious process 
f suction, I believe. Well — I'm coming across to 


i 9 i 7 

the Bay to-morrow afternoon. It's Saturday — you re- 
member — or don't remember. We'll have the week- 
end together." 

"That will be frightfully—" began Henry. 

"Only I wish to God," Kennedi went on, "that I 
wasn't reading this book. I'll never be able to bathe 
again. The sea is simply teeming with horrors." He 
got up and filled his pipe. "Don't hurry. I'm going to 
smoke on the verandah." 

But Henry couldn't be left alone. Besides, he wasn't 
hungry after all. He chose a big orange and followed 

They walked into the warm velvet dark and into an- 
other world. Kenneth stood with his hands in his pock- 
ets looking over the garden — at all those shapes and 
shadows built up in the air. As he stared they seemed 
to move gently, flowing together under a rolling wave. 

"Those gardens under the sea," he murmured, "must 
be the very devil!" 

Henry sat on the verandah edge, eating his orange 
and looking at the clematis flowers. Wide open — daz- 
zling they lay as if waiting in rapture for the moon. 
It was strange how frightfully they added to his ex- 
citement. He began to quiver all over. He thought, 
absurdly, "The top of my head feels just like one of 


those flowers," and a hundred miles away Kenneth 
murmured : 

"Well, I'm glad it's you who are going and not me. 
I've no desire at all to rush into this affair they call 
Life. No, my job is to hide in a doorway, or squeeze 
under a porch until it is all over — only issuing forth — 
ii : I must issue forth — with Isobcl for my Supreme Um- 
brella or Maisie for my small, coming-on, emergency 
umbrella — or 'sunnyshade' as she calls it. That's the 
reason why I'm in favour of having large numbers of 
children — that they may be a kind of tent to me in my 
old age. . . ." 

Henry went off to his packing. He got into his py- 
jamas just for the sake of coolness, for of course he 
wasn't going to bed. 

But by one o'clock everything was done and his feet 
were cold, so he just sat up in bed and decided to 
smoke until it was time to get up. After one cigarette 
he lay down on his side, curled up, one hand under 
his check, thinking. He felt himself smiling down to 
his very toes. Yes, every little toe, now that it was warm, 
had a basking smile on it. And this was so ridiculous 
that he began to laugh, cuddling down, burying his 
face in the pillow. And away the little boat floated. . . . 


i 9 i 8 


"Better be imprudent moveables than prudent fixtures." 

(Keats to Fanny Brawne) 

A woman who is tin peu dgSe and has a youngish 
man in France shows very plain her jealousy and her 
desire to keep his attention from wandering. Even if 
he wants to sleep she takes his arm. 

I never feel so comfortable or at ease as when I am 
holding a pencil. Note that, and if you have an embar- 
rassing moment . . . 


January 12 

"Charming!" thought Frances, smiling, as she pushed 
her way through the glass doors into the hairdresser's 
shop. What she meant by "charming" was her little 
hand in a white kid glove with thick black stitching, 
pressed flat on the pane of the swing-door a moment. 
. . . Madame, behind the counter, smiled back at her, 
and "charming, charming" re-echoed in her smile and 
in her quick brilliant glance which flew over Frances 
from top to toe. 

"Georges is quite ready," she cried. "If you will sit 
down a moment, I will call him," and while she spoke 
her smile widened and deepened, until even her black 
satin dress, her rings, her locket, her jewelled combs 
seemed to catch a ripple and to flash with it. Even the 
bottles and jars and bright mirrors of the hairdresser's 
shop gave it back again. 

I shall certainly be able to write in a day or two if 
this goes on. I am not so wretched to-night. 

February 7 

How immensely easier it is to attack an insect that is 
running away from you than one that is running to- 


i 9 i 8 

wards you. The scuttling tribe! Spiders as big as half- 
crowns, with long gooseberry hairs! 

"Even though, as I now fear, to others it may be only 
an obscurity shed over things transparently clear." This 
was a passage from the draft of an essay on J. D. Fcr- 
gusson's pictures, which was subsequently published 
under the title "The Daughter of Necessity," in The 
Evolution of an Intellectual. When I picked up our 
common notebook on the following day, to make a 
fair copy of the draft, I found fear and clear under- 
lined, and the following lines below: — 

Even though, as now I fear, 

It may to others make obscure 

Things that aforetime have been clear — 


The passage was deleted. 

An Idea 

Are you really, only happy when I am not there? 

Can you conceive of yourself buying crimson roses and 

smiling at the flower woman if I were within 50 miles 

of you ? Isn't it true that then, even if you are a prisoner 



— your time is your own . . . even if you are lonely, 
you are not being "driven distracted" — Do you remem- 
ber when you put your handkerchief to your lips and 
turned away from me — In that instant you were 
utterly, utterly apart from me — and I have never felt 
quite the same since. Also — there was the evening when 
you asked me if I still believed in the Heron ! — isn't it 
perhaps true that if I were "flourishing" you would 
flourish — ever so much more easily and abundantly 
without the strain and wear of my presence. And we 
should send each other divine letters and divine "work" 
— and you would quite forget that I was 29 and brown- 
eyed. People would ask — is she fair or dark? and you 
would say in a kind of daze — "Oh, I think her hair's 
pale yellow." Well — well, it's not quite a perfect scheme. 
For I should have to hack off my parent stem such a 
branch — oh, such a branch that spreads over you and 
delights to shade you and to see you in dappled light 
and to refresh you and carry you a sweet (though quite 
unrecognised) perfume. 

But it is not the same for you — you are always pale, 
exhausted, in an anguish of set anxiety, as soon as I am 
near. Now, I feel in your letters, this is going, and you 

1 The Heron Farm was the name of the house to. which we 
dreamed of retiring after the war. Heron, or Hcrron, was a 
family name in the Beauchamp family. 

[ 121 1 

i 9 i 8 

are breathing again. How sad it is! Yes, I've a shrewd 
suspicion . . . 

Of course M. L. will keep us one remove from each 
other; she'll be a "help" that way. Did you realise that, 
when you were so anxious to keep her ? For of course, 
as you know, I'd have chucked her finally after the 
Gwynne night if it hadn't been for your eagerness. 

{May 22, Looe) 

The Quarrel 

So he sat and smoked his cigarette, looking at the 
empty fireplace, the frill of paper inside the grate, and 
the irons, inside too, heaped in a bundle. 

"Put a match to them and get a blaze if you can, but 
that's all the fire you'll get in my house." Very cheer- 
ing. Very hospitable. 

But when the cigarette was three parts smoked, he 
thought miserably, "That's just about what I feel like. 
That's a complete picture of myself at this moment. It 
couldn't be truer." 

She sat at the table, her hands just touching the long 

paper of mixed flowers that the landlady had given her 

to take home. They were mixed — Canterbury bells, 

sweet Williams like velvet pincushions, irises, silly flar- 



ing poppies, snapdragons; and some roses that smelt 
sweetly lay half spoiled with green-fly. She was not 
going to take them home. She had no vases to fit them, 
and besides she didn't want them. No, she would leave 
them in the rack of the railway carriage. If only some 
officious fool wouldn't run after. "Excuse me, Madam, 
you've left your flowers. . . ." 

In a few hours the ugly room which did not belong 
to them or to anybody, would be emptied of them for 
ever, and to-morrow morning or this evening perhaps 
the card labelled apartments would be stuck in the win- 
dow. After they had gone, the landlady and her grand- 
son would come in and sneak and pry about, looking 
for pickings. Had they left anything? Nothing but 
half a bottle of thoroughly bad ink and — yes, that bowl 
of dog daisies and sorrel on the mantelpiece. She'd 
throw away that wild trash — she'd chuck the daisies 
into the dustbin and then empty the tea-leaves on to 
them while they were yet alive. And she'd say: "She 
was as nice and pleasant spoke a young woman as you 
could wish to find, but he was a cool, fish-blooded 
young man and terrible hard to please sometimes, I 
reckon. Oh, yes . . ." And then she'd worry whether 
she. couldn't have charged them a bit more for some- 
thing they'd never had— and then they'd be forgotten. 

He threw the cigarette end on to the hearth and 


i 9 i 8 

slowly turned towards her but didn't look, saying in 
a cool unnatural voice, "Well, aren't you coming out?" 
for it had been agreed between them before this last 
quarrel that when the packing was over they would sit 
on the beach for half an hour and then come back to 
tea and wait for the cab that was to take them to the 

That voice! How she hated it! And how it insulted 
her! How dare he speak to her like that! And the worst 
of it was it was so put on — so affected. He had a way 
— after they'd been quarrelling, or even in the middle 
of a quarrel — of speaking down to her as much as to 
say: "Of course you haven't understood a word of 
what's happened, but this sort of thing — 'Shall we have 
tea?' — 'Shall we go out?' — you can understand and you 
can reply to." 

She sat up and drew in her chin, making her throat 
very free and soft. She glanced with quick eyes and 
darted the words at him: "I'm certainly not going." 

But he saw none of this. Very listless and tired, he 
rolled out of the chair and pulled on his hat. "Oh, very 
well, please yourself!" 

But she didn't want to stay in that ugly room looking 

at those hideous flowers. The landlady would come in, 

too, and want to talk, and think it funny that she hadn't 

gone with him. And she hated waiting by herself in this 



strange village, and she didn't want him to be down 
there on the stony beach all alone— a little speck among 
all the others— unconscious of her, forgetting her. She 
didn't trust him. He might do something idiotic. He 
might forget all about the time; he might hire a boat; 
say he rowed while the tea grew cold and the cab waited 
and she stood at the window in an anguish of exaspera- 
tion—dying of it simply. . . . He was at the door. 

"Yes, I will come, after all." 

Was he smilinp? Had he known that she would 
"come round" ? He gave no sign at all. Staring at the 
floor in the same listless, tired way: 

Til wait here while you put on your hat." 

"I've got it on," said she. 

And they passed out of the ugly room into the hideous 
hall. There the landlady caught them; she had the 
door of the kitchen open on purpose. Out she bounced. 

"Oh, Mrs. Tressle, I was wondering whether you care 
to take back a lobster. My cousin the fishmonger has 
just brought it across to be boiled and all . . . " She was 
back in the kitchen and out again with the strange red 
thing on a white dish — offering it to Miriam. 

Instead of helping her to get rid of this fool of a 
woman, instead of even doing his share, he sauntered 
out of the house and stood at the gate with his hands 
in his pockets, looking down the road, leaving it as usual 


i 9 i 8 

all to her. This she realised beyond words while she 
was pleasant and gay and grateful to the landlady: 
"It's awfully kind of you, Mrs. Trefoylc, but my hus- 

"Don't care for them," said the landlady, smiling her 
knowing smile, which Miriam pretended not to see. 

"They don't agree with him," she said regretfully, 
making a little moue of regret at the loathsome red body 
in the dish. "I wish they did. It does look a beauty!" 

"Ah well, there's likes and dislikes," said the landlady, 
and Miriam went out to join him. 

It was hot and fine. The air quivered. You would 
have fancied the whole round world lay open like a 
flower to the sun, and behind everything, underneath 
all the little noises, there was a stillness, a profound calm, 
a surrender, so blissful that even human brings were 
moved by it and walked along easy and confident. The 
cats lay asleep on the window sills, a row of seagulls 
perched on the roof tiles. Marble birds. 

Nobody saw the queer ugly child dragging between 
them, clutching a hand of each as they walked side by 
side down the road. Obstinate, ugly and heavy, their 
only child, the child of their love. The only thing that 
held them together and kept them alive to each other. 

He knew it. He felt it pulling. But just for the 
moment he did not care. As always happened after 


their quarrelling, folded in upon himself, sealed up, he 
died for the time being, like a sea anemone which has 
been prodded with a stone. He hadn't even got to the 
stage where the stone is rejected. No, there it lay — and 
he covered it and was still. 

She, on the contrary, after the quarrels always felt so 
strong, so dreadfully full of life. She wanted to snatch 
the ugly brat up, to shake it and to cry: "See what you've 
made me bear. It's yours. It's all your fault! I never 
quarrelled with anybody before I met you. People used 
to say that I simply radiated happiness and well-being. 
And it was true, it was true! I was made to be happy 
and to make other people happy, and now you're kill- 
ing me — killing me. You won't let me be myself even 
for a single moment. No, all you really want to do, your 
only real desire in life, is to drag me down — to make me 
somehow or other as wretched as yourself — to force me 
to crawl to the office with you every day and endure the 
torture and crawl back again. . . ." 

(June g) 


It is remarkable how much there is of the ordinary 
man in J. For instance, finding no towels in his room 
to-night, his indignation, ( sense of injury, desire so to 


i 9 i 8 

shut his door that it would bring the house down — his 
fury in fact at having to look for the blasted things — 
all was just precisely what one would have expected of 
Father. ... It makes me think again of the separation 
of the Artist and the Man. 

It's like his Why is lunch late? as though I had but to 
wave my hand and the banquet descended. But doesn't 
that prove how happy he would have been with a real 

Who tells me true, though in his tale lay death, 
I hear him as he flattered." 

"If I were to follow all your instructions and advice, 
I don't think I should have any pleasure in life at all." 

Why do people always put on such airs when they are 
saying Goodbye ? They seem so exquisitely glad to be 
staying. Arc they ? Or is it envy ? 

This is J.'s fountain pen and I don't think much of it. 
It's all on one side! 

The trees will toss their little leaves 
To mourn the loss of the new goldfinch. 


"The insolence of wealth is a wretched thing, but the 
conceit of parts has some foundation." (Dr. Johnson.) 

"A temporary poem always entertains us." 
Dr. Johnson: "So does the account of the criminals 
hanged yesterday entertain us.'* 


"Nobody has the right to put another under such a 
difficulty that he must cither hurt the person by jelling 
the truth or hurt himself by telling what is not true. . . . 
Therefore a man who is asked by an author what he thinks 
of his work is put to the torture, and is not obliged 'o speak 
the trudi; so that what he says is not considered as his 
opinion, yet he has said it and cannot retract his opinion." 
(Dr. Johnson.) 


Dr. Johnson: "All censure of a man's self is oblique 
praise. It is in order to show how much he can spare. It has 
all die invidiousness of self-praise, and all the reproach of 

Boswell: "Sometimes it may proceed from a man's 
strong consciousness of his faults being observed. He knows 
that others would throw him down, and he had better lie 
down softly, of his own accord." 

Dr. Johnson: "It is thus that mutual cowardice keeps 


i 9 i .8 

us in peace. Were one half of mankind brave and one half 
cowards, the brave would be always beating the cowards. 
Were all brave, they would lead a very uneasy life; all 
would be continually fighting; but all being cowards, we 
get on together very well." 


S: So, sir, wine is a key which opens a box, and this 
box may be either free or empty. 

F: Nay, sir, conversation is the key; wine is a pick- 
lock which forces open the box and injures it. A man 
should cultivate his mind so as to have that confidence 
and readiness without wine, which wine gives. 

October 25 

She has large appetites but they can be satisfied — 
except when we've really got her — herself somehow or 
other in the soup tureen. Then she could — Oh! she 
would eat for ever — and 

Try this little bit, Jones? Don't you like it? What's 
the matter with it ? Hasn't it got enough flavour — 


Said the snail, \ 

In delicate armour of silver mail: 


"Before too late 

I must know my fate, 

I must crawl 

Along the wall, 

Succeed or fall." 

Timid, cautious, one fine morn 

She put forth one quivering horn. 

Something bit her — 

No— hit her. 

She expired — 

No — retired. 

Two ants 

Carrying a grain of chaff 

Stopped to laugh. 

"Come out! Come out! 

That hit on the snout 

Was only a seed 

Blown by some weed. 

You haven't begun 

To have any fun." 

"But I've had my fright, 

That's Life enough — quite!" 

Said the snail. 

(November igi8) 



The Butterfly 

"What a day to be born! 
And what a place!" 
Cried the flowers. 

"Mais tu as de la chance, ma ch&re!" 
Said the wild geranium 
Who was very travelled. 
The campions, the blue-bells, 
The daisies and buttercups, 

The bright little eyebright and the white nettle-flower, 
And a thousand others — 
All were there to greet her; 
And growing so high, so high, 
Right up to the sky, thought the butterfly, 
On either side of a little lane. 
"Only, my dear," breathed an old snail 
Who was hugging the underside of a dock-leaf, 
"Don't attempt to cross over. 
Keep to this side. 

The other side is just the same as this — 
Believe me — just the same flowers, just the same green- 
Stay where you are, and have your little flutter in peace !" 
That was enough for the butterfly. 
"What an idea! Never to go out into the open? 


Never to venture forth ? 
To live, creeping up and clown this side!" 
Her wings quivered with scorn. 
"Really,", said she, "I am not a snail!" 
And away she flew. 

But just at that moment a dirty-looking dog, 
Its mean tail between its legs, 
Came loping down the lane. 
It just glanced aside at the butterfly — did not bite — 
Just gave a feeble snap and ran further. 
But she was dead. 
Little fleck of cerise and black, 
She lay in the dust. 

Everybody was sorry except the bracken, 
Which never cares about anything, one way or the other. 

(November 1918) 


I confess that these last days my fight with the enemy 
has been so hard that I just laid down my weapons and 
ran away, and consented to do what has always seemed 
to me the final intolerable thing, i.e. to go into a sana- 

To-day, finally thinking it over, and in view of the 
fact that it is not, after all, so much a question of climate 


i 9 i 8 

as of regime (there are very successful sanatoria in 
Hampstead and Highgate), I am determined, by my 
own will, to live the sanatorium life here. 

(i) Father shall have built for me a really good shel- 
ter in the garden where I can lie all day. 

(2) He shall also give us two good anthracite stoves. 

(3) I shall buy a complete Jaeger outfit for the 

(4) I shall have a food chart and live by it. 

(5) This new servant releases L. M. who has con- 
sented to give her whole time to me — as a nurse 

(6) Sorapure shall still be my doctor. 

I shall have a separate bedroom always and live 
by rule. 

You must have a bed in your dressing-room when 
the servant comes. 

(7) I shall NOT WORRY. 

You see, Jack, for the first time to-day I am deter- 
mined to get well as Mother would be determined for 
me. If we are depressed, we must keep apart. But I am 
going through with this, and I want you to help me. 
It can be done. 

Other people have done this in Hampstead. Why 
not I? 

Anything else, any institutional existence, would kill 


me — or being alone, cut off, ill with the other ill. I have 
really taken my courage up and I'm not going to drop 
it. I \now it's possible. 







i 9 i 9 


H. M. Tomlinson 

In The A then ceum, April 18, 1919, Katherine reviewed 
H. M. Tomlinson's Old ]un\ under the title "A Citizen 
of the Sea." The meaning of her title is given in the 
sentence: "We feel that he is calm, not because he has 
renounced life, but because he lives in the memory of 
that solemn gesture with which the sea blesses or dis- 
misses or destroys her own." The review concludes: 

"He is alive; real things stir him profoundly. He has 

no need to exaggerate or heighten his effects. One is 

content to believe that what he tells you, happened to 

him and it was the important thing; it was die spiritual 



truth which was revealed. This is the life, changeless 
and unchanging, wonderfully conveyed to us in the 
pages of Old ]un\. There is a quality in the prose that 
one might wish to call 'magic'; it is full of the quivering 
light and rainbow colours of the unsubstantial shore. 
One might dream as one puts the book down that one 
has only to listen, to hear the tide, on the turn, then 
sweeping in full and strong." 

But Katherine was dissatisfied with the review. She 
commented on it in her Scrapbook: 

"Too vague. Too much in the air. C/72-telling. Re- 
becca West beat me to a frazzle on the same subject. 
She got, in my school, 98 marks; I got 44." 

Nevertheless, she pasted on the opposite page a letter 
of appreciation from H. M. Tomlinson. "I told J. M. 
M., and it is quite true, your review of my book was 
more to me than the Legion of Honour. And how 
finely the decoration was bestowed! When a reviewer 
who writes like that, can give so noticeable a tribute to 
another writer, the honour is more than doubled." 


She told me she dreamed she took her darling to a 
publisher, and, having placed it upon the altar, she made 
obeisance and waited to hear if it should be found 

[ 137 ] 

i 9 i 9 

worthy in his sight for a sacrifice. And he asked her 
how old she was. She had to confess that, though she 
had seen him quite recently and they had spent a won- 
derful time together, she never would see Thirty again. 

"But, my dear madam," said the publisher, wonder- 
ingly taking up her darling, "I understood you to say 
this was your first novel ? Ah, perhaps you meant it was 
your last, on the 'last shall be first' principle. Hee-haw! 
Oh, I say — rather nice, don't you think? Oh, neat — 
very neat! You writing people ought to come to us for 
a tip or two occasionally. What?" 

At his words, age — great age — descended upon her. 
She heard herself say in a prim, elderly voice, "No, it 
really is my first novel." And she held out her arms 
for her darling. 

Said he, handing it back to her, "You know, I should 
have had this fourteen or fifteen years ago. At your 
time of life, dear lady, you ought to be either writing 
your memoirs or crackin' up the new generation. We've 
no use for anything in the creative line that's not brought 
to market in the green ear. We can't have enough of it." 
And he waved her out of the temple, crying trium- 
phantly, " The greener the ear, the sweeter the meat!' " 

At this she shivered so dreadfully that she woke up. 
"So you see," she ended mournfully, "we are condemned 
for years to sentimental journeys in perambulators: 


more and more young men and maidens caught up as 
they lean from parental windows admiring the 'sticky 
buds,' and strapped in and whirled off down the bright 
avenues and through the little back streets, up and down 
the City Road — of the hour — and in and out the Eagle — 
of the moment — in Life's ramshackle old baby-carriage. 
And theirs is the only comment upon life, at present, 
shrill enough to be heard, and persistent enough to be 
wondered at." 

"So the future of us and those like us is quite plain to 
me. We arc doomed to pass these delicious hours of 
our fine flowering not only unwept (which doesn't mat- 
ter so much), but quite absolutely unhonoured and un- 
sung — which docs. The path upon which we linger is 
the path of the perambulator, too. Our one high excite- 
ment will be to stop the nurse occasionally and gush over 
her incredible charge. You hear us — Didums manage 
to blow Iiis little trumpet so loud ? or to throw his pretty 
public school so far, or to put out her little tongue and 
hit our admiring fingers such a rap with her naughty 

"And the worst of it is, every time we admire the 
child it will come back for more with such rapidity. 
It will merely be whisked round the corner and back 
again — bigger, brighter, bolder than ever. . . . Why arc 
you staring at me?" 


i 9 i 9 

I was looking, dearest, at your nose. 

"It is, isn't it," said she, stroking it with a finger, "a 
charming little nose? Every time I greet it in the glass 
I thank the Lord and my precious little mother for giv- 
ing me hers and sparing me papa's. . . . But why has 
it flashed upon your outward eye so particularly just at 
this moment ?" 

"It seemed to me — fancy, perhaps . . . you haven't 
hurt it in any way ? You haven't knocked it or caught it 
in anything, or blown it unmercifully — or — it's ridicu- 
lous — it's absurd — it must be an effect of light." 


,"But from where I am sitting it does look just the 
weeniest — teeniest — just the slightest shade — out of 

Perambulations was printed in The A then a urn, May 
2, 1919. Katherine cut it out and commented: 

"You seem to have a mania for 'such' — a detestable 
word, and the weakest of links in a chain— and 'so.' 
You'd better stop playing that particular tune now: nous 
avons assez entendu sonnet!' 

"Tom was literally rolling in wealth. He had, besides 
the things I have mentioned, twelve marbles, part of a Jew's 
harp, a piece of blue botde-glass to look through, a spool- 


cannon, a key that wouldn't unlock anything, a fragment 
of chalk, a glass stopper of a decanter, a tin soldier, a couple 
of tadpoles, a fatten with only one eye . . . 

(Mark Twain: The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.) 

Not true! 


A beam of light was shaken out of the sky 
On to the brimming tide, and there it lay, 
Palely tossing like a creature condemned to die 
Who had loved the bright day. 

"Ah, who are these that wing through the shadowy air ?" 

She cries, in agony. "Arc they coming for me?" 

The big waves croon to her: "Hush now! There-now- 

There is nothing to see." 

But her white arms lift to cover her shining head, 
And she presses close to the waves to make herself 

small . . . 
On their listless knees the beam of light lies dead 
And the birds of shadow fall. 


i 9 i 9 

Men and Women 

"I get on best with women," 

She laughed and crumbled her cake. 
"Men are such unknown country. 

I never know how to take 
What they say, nor how they mean it 

And — oh, well they are so queer, 
So — don't you know? — so — this and that. 

You know what I mean, my dear! 

"With women it's so much simpler," 

She laughed and cuddled her mufT. 
"One doesn't have to keep smiling — 

Now what have I said ? — It's enough 
To chat over nothing important. 

That is such a rest, I find, 
In these strenuous days, don't you know, dear? 

They put such a strain on the mind." 


When we were charming Backfisch 

With curls and velvet bows 
We shared a charming kitten 
With tiny velvet toes. 


It was so gay and playful; 

It flew like a woolly ball 
From my lap to your shoulder— 

And, oh, it was so small, 

So warm — and so obedient 

If we cried: "That's enough 1" 
It lay and slept between us, 

A purring ball of fluff. 

But now that I am thirty • 

And she is thirty-one, 
I shudder to discover 

How wild our cat has run. 

It's bigger than a Tiger, 

Its eyes are jets of flame, 
Its claws are gleaming daggers, 

Could it have once been tame? 

Take it away; I'm frightened! 

But she, with placid brow, 
Cries: "This is our Kitty-witty! 

Why don't you love her now?" 

"My cough is considerably better, I am sunburnt, they 
tell me I am fatter, but the other day I almost fell down 


and I fancied for a minute that I was dying, I was walking 
along the avenue with the prince, our neighbour, and was 
talking, when all at once something seemed to brca\ in my 
chest, I had a feeling of warmth and suffocation, there was 
a singing in my cars, I remembered that I had been having 
palpitations for a long time and thought — 'They must 
have meant something, then.' I went rapidly towards the 
verandah, on which visitors were sitting, and had one 
thought — that it would be awkward to fall down and die 
before strangers; but I went into my bedroom, drank some 
water and recovered." (Tchehov's letters: April 21, 1894) 

(Ospedaletti, /Q/o) 

[The italicizing is Katherine's; k means that Katherine 
had undergone Tchchov's experience at the Casetta, in die 
autumn of 1919.] 

Lame Duc\s 

It is seldom that lame ducks are seen together. As a 
rule, so profoundly unaware do they appear to be of one 
another's existence one is almost tempted to believe that 
a lame duck to a lame duck really is invisible. They 
may frequent the same cafes for years, attend the same 
studio parties, feed at the same restaurants, even sit with 
the same group round a table, but when the others get 
up to go, the lame duck's way is with these — to the right 
— and the other—with those, to the left. 


I wish he would cross his legs and rest his hands on 
his knee. But no, he sprawls, his shoulders hunched, his 
hands stufTed in his pockets, staring at his feet. They 
do look very curious, pressed so flat against the curved 
floor of the cab; the toes turned in and the shoes appear 
for some reason to be made not of leather,— of gun- 

"I dream that the dearest I ever knew 
Has died and been entombed. 
I am sure it's a dream that cannot be true. . . . 

Yet stays this nightmare too appalling, 

And like a web shakes me, 
And piteously I keep on calling, 

And no-one wakes me." 

(Thomas Hardy) 

The New Husband 

Someone came to me and said, 
"Forget, forget that you've been wed! 
Who's your man to leave you be 
111 and cold in a far country ? 
Who's the husband — who's the stone 
Could leave a child like you alone? 


"You're like a leaf caught in the wind; 
You're like a lamb that's left behind 
When all the flock has pattered away; 
You're like a pitiful little stray 
Kitten that I'd put in my vest; 
You're like a bird that's fallen from nest, 

"We've none of us too long to live, 
Then take me for your man and give 
Me all the keys to all your fears 
And let me kiss away these tears. 
Creep close to me. I mean no harm, 
My darling! Let me make you warm." 

I had received that very day 

A letter from the other to say 

That in six months — he hoped — no longer, 

I would be so much better and stronger 

That he could close his books and come 

With radiant looks to bear me home. 

Ha! Ha! Six months, six weeks, six hours 
Among these glittering palms and flowers, 
With Melancholy at my side 
For my old nurse, and for my guide 
Despair — and for my footman Pain, 
. . . I'll never see my home again. 


Said my new husband: "Little dear, 

It's time \vc were away from here; 

In the road below there waits my carriage 

Ready to drive us to our marriage; 

Within my house the feast is spread 

And the maids are baking the bridal bread." 

I thought with grief upon that other; 
But then why should he aught discover 
Save that I pined away and died ? 
So I became the stranger's bride, 
And every moment — however fast 
It flies — we live as 'twere our last! 

(December 8, 1919) 

December ij 

We had been for two years drifting into a relationship 

different to anything I had ever known. We had been 
children to each other, openly confessed children, tell- 
ing each other everything, and each depending equally 
upon the other. Before that, I had been the man and 
he had been the woman, and he had been called upon to 
make no real efforts. He had never really "supported" 
me. When we first met, in fact, it was I who kept him, 

[ M7 ] 

and afterwards wc had always acted (more or less) like 
men friends. Then this illness, getting worse and worse, 
and turning me into a woman and asking him to put 
himself away, to bear things for me. He stood it mar- 
vellously. It helped very much because it was a "roman- 
tic" disease (his love of a "romantic appearance" is 
immensely real) and also being "children" together gave 
us a practically unlimited chance to play at life — not to 
.live. It was child love. Yes, I think the most marvel- 
lous, the most radiant love that this earth knows: terri- 
bly rare. We've had it. But we were not pure. If we 
had been, he would have faced coming away with me. 
And that he would not do. He would not have said he 
was too tired to earn enough to keep us here. He always 
refused to face what it meant — living alone for two 
years on not much money. He «;aid, and three-quarters ' 
of him believed: "I couldn't stand the strain of it with 
you ill." But it was a lie, and a confession that all was 
not well with us. And I always knew it. Nevertheless, 
I played up, and truly even in October I clung to him 
still — still the child — seeing as cur salvation a house in 
die country in England not later than next May and 
then never to be apart again. The letters ended all of it. 
Was it the letters? I must not forget something else. 
All these two years I have been obsessed by the fear 
of death. 



My life with J. I'm not inclined to relive. It doesn't 
enter my head. Where that life was is just a blank. The 
future — the present — life with him is not. It has got to 
be lived. There is nothing in it. Something has stopped 
— a wall has been raised and it's too recent for me to 
desire to go there even. Wait till it looks a little less new 
... is the feeling. I'm not in the least curious either, 
and not in the least inclined to lament. 

If one wasn't so afraid — why should I be? this isn't 
going to be read by Bloomsbury et Cie — I'd say we had 
a child — a love-child, and it's dead. We may have other 
children, but this child can't be made to live again. J. 
says: Forget that letter! How can I? It killed the child 
— lulled it really and truly for ever as far as I am con- 
cerned. But I don't doubt that, if I live, there will be 
other children, but there won't be that child. 

In the Bath 

She liked to lie in the bath and very gently swish the 
water over her white jellified old body. As she lay there, 
her arms at her sides, her legs straight out, she thought: 
"This is how I shall look, this is how they will arrange 


me in my coffin." And it seemed to her, as she gazed at 
herself, terribly true that people were made to fit coffins 
— made in the shape of coffins. Just then she saw her wet 
shining toes as they were pressed against the end of the 
bath. They looked so gay, so unconscious of their fate. 
They seemed really to be smiling all in a row— the little 
toes so small. "Oh!" She gave the sponge a tragic 

Secret Flowers 

Is love a light for me? A steady light, 
A lamp within whose pallid pool I dream 
Over old love-books ? Or is it a gleam, 
A lantern coming towards me from afar 
Down a dark mountain ? Is my love a star? 
Ah mel so high above — so coldly bright 1 

The fire dances. Is my love a fire 
Leaping down the twilight ruddy and bold ? 
Nay, I'd be frightened of him. I'm too cold 
For quick and eager loving. There's a gold 
Sheen on these flower petals as they fold 
More truly mine, more like to my desire. 


The flower petals fold. They are by the sun 
Forgotten. In a shadowy wood they grow 
Where the dark trees keep up a to-and-fro 
Shadowy waving. Who will watch them shine 
When I have dreamed my dream ? Ah, darling mine, 
Find them, gather them for me one by one. 




January 1$ 

"But I was called from the earth— yea, called 
Before my rose-bush grew; 
And would that now I knew 
What feels he of the tree I planted, 
And whether, after I was called 
To be a ghost, he, as of old, 
Gave me his heart anew." 

(Thomas Hardy) 


Women walking across the fields to their men, idling 
in the swooning light, the sun trembling in the lemon- 



In the stillness the sound of the birds. Why hath the 
Lord not made bun trees ? 

Grey houses, red blinds, white mousseline curtains, 
and Oh! the replica within! 

When the soldiers bent to strip, their hair blew in the 
wind. This gave them such a defenceless, innocent 

I realized that I had been here before. There came a 
smell of wood and something dark, burnt out, and yet 
with a kind of glow still. 

The street so smooth and arched like the curves of 
thought, and up there walked sailors with their bundles, 
very like flies carrying their eggs in the hot sun. 

The trees at this hour look so full of leisure and in- 
clined to the earth as though they were in love with the 
shape of their own shadows. 

"How do you know, deep underground, 
Hid in your bed from sight and sound, 
Without a turn in temperature, 
With weather life can scarce endure, 
That light has won a fraction's strength, 
And day put on some moment's length, 
Whereof in merest rote will come, 
Weeks hence, mild airs that do not numb; 
O crocus root, how do you know, 
How do you know?" 

(Thomas Hardy) 
[ 153 ] 

Winter Bird 

My bird, my darling, 
Calling through the cold of afternoon 
Those round, bright notes, 
Each one so perfect, 
Shaken from the other and yet 
Hanging together in flashing clusters! 
The small soft flowers and the ripe fruits- 
All are gathered. 

It is the season now of nuts and berries 
And round, bright, flashing drops 
In the frozen grass. 

The Letters of Anton Tchchov 

"Here, as usual, he met with severe wcauV./,* 

"Purely external causes are sufficient to make one uujust 
to oncscjf, suspicious and morbidly sensitive." 

"Better say to man 'My angel' than hurl Tool* at his 
head—though men arc more like fools than they arc like 

"I have always felt strange when people whose death 
was at hand talked, smiled, or wept in my presence; but 
here, when I see on the verandah tliis blind woman who 


laughs, jokes, or hears my stories read to her, what begins 
to seem strange to me is not that she is dying, but that 
we do not feel our own death, and write stories as though 
we were never going to die." 

"My business is merely to be talented— i.e. to know 
how to distinguish important statements from unimportant, 
how to throw light on the characters, and to speak their 

"It is better to put your colour on too faint than too 

"An incomprehensible impulse of defiance mastered 
me — that impulse which made me bathe from the yacht in 
the middle of the Black Sea and has impelled me to not a 
few acts of folly." 

"There is no greater enjoyment in life than sleep when 
one is sleepy." 

"When one is travelling one absolutely must be alone. 
To sit in a chaise or in a room alone with one's thoughts 
is much more interesting than being with people." 

"So you like my story? Well, thank God! of late I have 
become devilishly suspicious and uneasy. I am constantly 
fancying that my trousers arc horrid, and that I am writing 
not as I want to, and that I am giving my patients the wrong 
powders. It must be a special neurosis." 

"Tolstoy denies mankind immortality, but my God! 
how much that is personal there is in it! The day before 
yesterday I read his 'Afterword.' Strike me dead! but it is 


stupider and stuffier than 'Letters to a Governor's Wife/ 
which I despise." 

"Noah had three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japhet. Ham 
only noticed that his father was a drunkard, and completely 
lost sight of the fact that he was a genius, that he had built 
an ark and saved the world. 

"Writers must not imitate Ham, bear that in mind." 

"A public confession 'I am a sinner, a sinner, a sinner* 
is such pride that it made me feel uncomfortable." 

"Tolstoy! In these days he is not a man but a super- 
man, a Jupiter." 

"From here, far away, people seem very good, and that 
is natural, for in going away into the country we are not 
hiding from people but from our vanity, which in town 
among people is unjust and active beyond measure. Look- 
ing at the spring, I have a dreadful longing that there 
should be paradise in die other world. In fact, at moments 
I am so happy that I superstitiously pull myself up and re- 
mind myself of my creditors, who will one day drive mc 
out of the Australia I have so happily won." 

"When you depict sad or unlucky people, and want 
to touch people's hearts, try to be colder — it gives their grief, 
as it were, a background, against which it stands out in 
sharper relief." 

"I haven't a halfpenny, but the way I look at it is this: 
the rich man is not he who has plenty of money, but he who 


has the means to live now in the luxurious surroundings 
given us by early spring." 

"You may weep and moan over your stories, you may 
suffer together with your heroes, but I consider one must 
do this so that the reader docs not notice it. The more 
objective, the stronger will be the effect." 

"When one thinks of Tolstoy 's Anna Karenina all these 
young ladies of Turgcnev's, with their seductive shoulders, 
fade away into nothing." 

"The descriptions of nature are fine, but I feel that we 
have already got out of the way of such descriptions and 
that we need something different." 

"Something in me protests: reason and justice tell me 
that in the electricity and heat of love for man there is 
something greater than chastity and abstinence from meat." 

"I, too, want 'something sour,* and that's not a mere 
chance feeling, for I notice the same mood in others round 
me. It is just as if they had all been in love, had fallen 
out of love, and now were looking for some new distraction." 

"The thought that I must, that I ought to, write never 
leaves me for an instant." 

"I think that nearness to Nature and idleness are essen- 
tial elements of happiness; without them it is impossible." . . . 

"I should like to meet a philosopher like Nietzsche 
somewhere in a train or steamer, and to spend die whole 
night talking to him." 
So should I, old boy! 


"The object of the novel [one of Sicnkiewicz's] is to 
lull thi bourgeoisie to sleep in its golden dreams. Be faithful 
to your wife, pray with her over the prayer-book, save money, 
love sport, and all is well with you in this world and the 
next. The bourgeoisie is very fond of so-called practical 
types and novels with happy endings, since they soothe it 
with the idea that one can both create capital and preserve 
innocence, be a beast and at the same time be happy." 

"A man can deceive his fiancee or his mistress as much 
as he likes, and, in the eyes of a woman he loves, an ass may 
pass for a philosopher; but a daughter is a different matter." 

"They tell me to cat six times and are indignant with 
me for eating, as they think, very little." 

"You complain that my heroes are gloomy — alas! that's 
not my fault. This happens apart from my will, and when 
I write it docs not seem to me that I am writing gloomily." 

"I am going to build so as to have a place in which to 
spend the winters. The prospect of continual wandering 
with hotel rooms, hotel porters, chance cooking, and so on, 
alarms my imagination." 

"The most important screw in family life is love, sexual 
attraction, one flesh; all the rest is dreary and cannot be 
reckoned upon, however cleverly we make our calculations. 

"To marry is interesting only for love; to marry a girl 
simply because she is nice .is like buying something one does 
not want at a bazaar solely because it is of good quality." 
[ 158 ] 


Compare: "I made some cheap purchases: if anything 
not wanted can be cheap." (Crabb Robinson: June 26, 

"You must once and for all give up being worried about 
successes and failures. Don't let that concern you. It's your 
duty to go on working steadily day by day, quite quietly, to 
be prepared for mistakes, which are inevitable, for failures 
— and let other people count the calls before the curtain." 

"The immense majority of people are nervous: the 
greater number suffer, and a small proportion feel acute 
pain; but where — in streets and in houses — do you see people 
tearing about, leaping up, and clutching at their heads? 
SufTcring ought to be expressed as it is expressed in life — 
that is, not by the arms and legs, but by the tone and expres- 
sion; not by gesticulation, but by grace." 

The Flowering of the Self 

When autograph albums were the fashion — sumptu- 
ous volumes bound in soft leather, and pages so deli- 
cately tinted that each tender sentiment had its own 
sunset sky to faint, to die upon — the popularity of that 
most sly, ambiguous, difficult piece of advice: "To thine 
own self be true" was the despair of collectors. How 
dull it was, how boring, to have the same thing written 

[ 159 ] 

six times over! And then, even if it was Shakespeare, 
that didn't prevent it — oh, I'dge d'innocence! — from be- 
ing dreadfully obvious. Of course, it followed as the 
night the day that if one was true to oneself . . . True 
to oneself! which self? Which of my many — well, 
really, that's what it looks like coming to — hundreds of 
selves? For what with complexes and repressions and 
reactions and vibrations and reflections, there are mo- 
ments when I feel I am nothing but the small clerk of 
some hotel without a proprietor, who has all his work 
cut out to enter the names and hand the keys to the 
wilful guests. 

Nevertheless, there are signs that we are intent as 
never before on trying to puzzle out, to live by, our own 
particular self. Der Mensch muss jrei sein — free, disen- 
tangled, single. Is it not possible that the rage for con- 
fession, autobiography, especially for memories of earli- 
est childhood, is explained by our persistent yet myste- 
rious belief in a self which is continuous and permanent; 
which, untouched by all we acquire and all we shed, 
pushes a green spear through the dead leaves and 
through the mould, thrusts a scaled bud through years 
of darkness until, one day, the light discovers it and 
shakes the flower free and — we are alive — we are flower- 
ing for our moment upon the earth. This is the moment 
which, after all, we live for, — the moment of direct 


feeling when wc are most ourselves and least per- 

(July 1920) 

The Baby 

Call for him once a week! 

"No!" he said, lowering his withered legs from the 
sofa and rubbing his knee-joints, "I'll wait a bit yet 
before I'm called for/* 

She was pinning on her hat in the mirror above the 
mantelpiece, but when he said that, she turned round 
and stared — a long pin in her hand. "I'm sure I don't 
know what you mean," she said loftily. 

He sucked in his cheeks and rubbed away, blinking. 

Even as he thought this, he collapsed, he fell sideways 
on the pillows, and suddenly ... in a voice that he had 
never heard before — a high, queer, rasping voice that 
got louder, angrier and shriller every moment — he be- 
gan to cry. 

How beautiful little children are! I shall kneel be- 
fore them and . . . 

"Beside old Scmyon he looked graceful and vigorous, 
but yet in his walk there was something just perceptible 


which betrayed in him a being already touched with decay, 
weak, and on the road to ruin." (Tchchov: The School- 
mis tress.) 

August 8 

A. B. B. [Anne Burnell Beauchamp: Kathcrine's 
mother] died August 8, 1918. 

"How she would have loved 
A party to-day! — 
Bright-hatted and gloved, 
With table and tray 
And chairs on the lawn! 
Her smiles would have shone • 
With welcomings . . . But 
She is shut, she is shut 
From friendship's spell 
In the jailing shell 
Of her tiny cell." 

(Thomas Hardy) 

August 9 

I must ask Doctor Sorapurc what is the immediate 
treatment for, and what are the symptoms of, fractured 



I cough and cough. . . . Life is — getting a new 
breath. . . . And J. is silent, hangs his head, hides his 
face with his fingers as though it were unendurable. 
"This is what she is doing to me! Every fresh sound 
makes my nerves wince." I know he can't help these 
feelings. But, oh God! how wrong they arc. If he could 
only for a minute, serve me, help me, give himself up. 
I can so imagine an account by him of a "calamity." "I 
could do nothing all day, my hands trembled, I had a 
sensation of utter cold. At times I felt the, strain would 
be unbearable, at others a merciful numbness ..." and 
so on. What a fate to be self-imprisoned ! What a ghastly 
fate! At such times I feel I never could get well with 
him. It's like having a cannon-ball tied to one's feet 
when one is trying not to drown. It is just like that. 

Bought and Paid for 

A bouquet — all her expenses — sometimes only vege- 
tables to bring away. Fortune-teller and crystal-gazer. 

The Dud 

This is in Society. We know it all. Then Wyndham 
is his friend and in his trouble appeals to him—/;; vain. 


One mustn't forget his writing-table, so exquisite, and 
his graceful style of reply. To write a letter was a little 
act of ritual. . . . His rooms arc off Baker Street- 
Upper Gloucester Place, in fact. 

August 19 

J. let fall this morning the fact that he had considered 
taking rooms in D.'s house this winter. Good. Was 
their relationship friendship? Oh no! He kissed her 
and held her arm and they were certainly conscious of 
a dash of something far more dangerous than Vamitic 
pure. And then he considered taking rooms in her 
house. He said, "Doesn't H. live there, too?" But H. 
never had the beginnings of such a relation with D. as 
}. knows. I suppose one always thinks the latest shock 
is the worst shock. This is quite unlike any other I have 
ever suffered. The lack of sensitiveness as far as I am 
concerned — the selfishness of this staggers me* This is 
what I must remember when I am away. J. thinks no 
more of me than of anybody else. I mean I am the same: 
the degree of his feeling is different, but it's the same 
feeling. I must remember he's one of my friends— no 
more. Who could count on such a man! To plan all 
this at such a time, and then on my return the first 


words: I must be nice to D. How disgustingly indecent! 
I am simply disgusted to my very soul. 

IVe read this over to-day (December 8, 1920) and 
now I wouldn't mind a straw if he went and lived there. 
Why on earth not? I don't love him less, but I do love 
him differently. I don't aspire to a personal life; I shall 
never know it. I must remind him to do so at Christmas. 

And again I read this over (June 6, 1921) and it 
seemed to mc very stupid and strange that we should 
have hidden from each other. By stupid I mean of 
course stupid in me to write such stuff. 

And again (July 24, 1921). Neither stupid nor strange. 
We both failed. 

A Dance at the 

Is Life going to be all like this ? thought Laura. And 
she lay down in bed and put her arms round the pillow, 
and the pillow whispered: "Yes, this is what Life is 
going to be like — only always more and more splendid 
— more and more marvellous!" 

"But supposing," said Laura, speaking very fast and 
with the greatest possible earnestness, "supposing you 

[ 165 ] 

were terrifically successful and were married to the per- 
son you adored, and you had every single thing you 
wanted, — and your first child was just born (that's sup- 
posed to be a marvellous moment, isn't it?), would you 
be really happier than you arc now?" 

They stared hard at each other a moment. 

"I simply couldn't be." 

At his words Laura gave a beaming smile, a great 
sigh, and squeezed her brother's arm. "Oh, what a 
relief 1" she said. "Neither could I— -not possible." 

"Laura! Laurie! What are you doing up there ? Come 
down at once. The N.'s have arrived!" 

Laura stooped down and kissed her grandmother. 
"You're by far the most beautiful girl in the rooms, my 
little precious!" she whispered. 

As Grandma passed on, the Major and Laura suddenly 
turned round to catch her eye. She raised her eyebrows 
in a very childish astounded way, and sucked in her 
cheeks. The old woman actually blushed. 

The Wordsu/orths 

"All the Journals contain numerous trivial details, 
which bear ample witness to the 'plain living and high 
thinking' of the Wordsworth household — and, in this edi- 


tion, samples of those details arc given — but there is no need 
to record all the cases in which the sister wrote, 4 To-day I 
mended William's shirts/ or 'William gathered sticks,' or 
'I went in search of eggs,' etc., etc." (W. Knight: Introduc- 
tion to Dorothy Wordsworth's Journal.) 

There is! Fool! 

"I went through the fields, and sat for an hour afraid 
to pass a cow. The cow looked at me, and I looked at the 
cow, and whenever I stirred the cow gave over eating." 
(Dorothy Wordsworth.) 

"I have thoughts that arc fed by the sun." (Dorothy 

It was Southey who made the charming remark that 
no house was complete unless it had in it a child rising 
six years and a kitten rising six months. 

Charles Lamb 

"Dear Manning, — Certainly you could not have called 
at all hours from two till ten, for we have been only out of 
an evening Monday and Tuesday this week. But if you 
think you have, your thought shall go for the deed. We 
did pray for you on Wednesday night: Oysters unusually 
luscious — pearls of extraordinary magnitude formed in 
them. I have made bracelets of them — given them in 
clusters to ladies. 


Last night we went out in despite, because you were 
not to come at your hour. 

This night we shall be at home, so shall we certainly 
both Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. Take 
your choice, mind I don't say of one, but choose which 
evening you will not, and come the other four. Doors, open 
at five o'clock. Shells forced about nine. Every gentleman 
smokes or not as he pleases. 01 I forgot, bring the £10, for 
fear you should lose it. C. L." 

A "darling" letter! 

After the talk with D. there is a change. "He woke 
and still with his eyes closed he turned and kissed her 
shoulder." That's a good beginning. 

I believe that D. has the secret of my recovery and J/s 
awakening. All that he spoke of yesterday . . . the 
terms were strange, but what he said was what she had 
known for a long time. He made the Casetta story 
plainer. I saw how it could be made to "fit." 

But this short sketch for Boulcstin must be extremely 
simple and yet decisive. ... It must not be in even the 
slightest degree "thin." If I can include the glittering 
sheep, the pond . . . 

[The sketch which Katherinc then had in mind for 
M. Boulcstin's Keepsake apparently developed into "At the 


Bay." It was not published in The Keepsake, to which she 
sent "The Black Cap" instead.] 

Twelfth Night. Viola 

"If we should be a prey, how much 'twere better 
To fall before the lion than the wolf.'* 

Some are born . . . , some achieve . . . , and some 

have . . . thrust upon them. . . . 

At mid-day the Walking Club streamed through the 
ancient beautiful gates and clattered over the cobble- 
stones of the inn courtyard. They disturbed a great ring 
of blue and white pigeons pecking among the stones; 
away they flew with a soft clapping. {Second Helping.) 

"Something to do with Lilacs— an old air of France." 

Le temps des lilas ct le temps des roses 
Ne viendra plus ce printemps-ci. 

The Persones Tale. 

He is a jabbere and a gabbere. 

I think the only thing which is really bad about me, 
really incurable, is my temper. 


"Courage, my darling!" But the soft word was fatal. 
Down fell her tears. 

" 'Tis a morning to tempt Jove from his ningle." 

The inaudible and noiseless foot of time. 

The word which haunts me is egocentric. 

Rising above all pain, and all infirmity— rising above 

The little heads were like pink fondants in a girl's 
lined chocolate-box. 

"You can invent anything you like, but you can't in- 
vent psychology." (Tolstoy to Tchchov.) 

At Mary Rose 

"It's something I know. I must have heard it." Her 
head was bound with old purple grapes. 

The introductory music raking the hard soil of our 
heart and preparing it for fairy seed. The voices of the 
singers were like celestial gargling. 

The Australian soldier rattles on the stairs. His whole 
manner and the loud voices. They should have been all 


vague and remote. The light should have been dim. 

"He's very complicated, Barrie, but charming — oh, so 
charming! Modern — quite modern — the same author!" 

Act I. Sc. i. The clergyman is a little fantastic. The 
other man overacts. We'll be good, wont we? Fan- 

The scene on the island is terrific. It is a terrible idea. 
And as soon as it was over, the tea, the Maid of the 
Mountains. Quick, quick, quick! And the heads — the 
old heads ana the young heads — "How he ever thought 
of it is beyond me!" 

"But they don't progress, do they? They don't go 
out into the world. Is that good for a country? . . . 
Oh, a lovely life! I should like my husband to be a 
farmer. . . . But the natives are nice, aren't they, when 
they are young?" 

"Touch and go the day of the attack. I got the orders 
by phone and scrambled ofl* with them to my officer — 
putting a two-franc piece down my collar, inside my 
shirt for luck. We all sat together. I knew it was all up 
with me. So did Austen. Our number was up. The 
feeling of waste! My hand on the hilt of a revolver. 
You can always turn it on yourself. . . ." 

A few days ago I went to see Mr. Barrie's as-successful- 
as-ever play Mary Rose, and what impressed me chiefly 


were the extraordinary efforts considered necessary to 
prepare the audience for something strange, something 
out of the common, something which does not happen 
every day in that block of residential flats over the way. 
To begin with, while the lights still glared, the orchestra 
banged the good old "Gondoliers" about our heads, to 
such good effect that the lady in front of me did pause, 
did say to her friend: "My dear, don't I know that? 
Isn't it 'Carmen 7 ?" And then, before the curtain rose, 
the shaded lights, one by one, fainted, failed, gave up 
their little souls, and left us in the dark exposed to a 
kind of emotional raking process by the violins and 
violas, whereby the hard stony soil of our reluctant 
hearts was broken up and prepared for the magic seed 
the wizard should scatter. Voices joined the instruments, 
wordless, rising and falling in what sounded to be a 
celestial gargling. . . . 

En Voyage 

Four little boys, one minute, three larking. When the 
three ran on to the lines and tried to dash themselves 
to death, the little one obviously suffered tortures and 
did his best to drag them back again. I realized this 
would have been just the same if it had been deep water. 


An old man, an old woman, and a tiny boy In a cape. 
When the old woman disappeared, the ancient took the 
little boy with such tender care. He had a little pipe in 
his beard. It looked as though his beard were curling. 

Poplars springing in green water — red willows. 

Tea on the Train 

A man poked his head in at the door and said tea was 

"Tea! Dear me!" she fussed at once. "Would you 
care to go? . . . Shall we, do you think ? On the other 
hand, I have some tea here. I'm afraid it will not be 
very good. Tea that is not fresh . . . and then there is 
that odd taste — what it is I do not know, but . . . Shall 
we care to try it?" 

"Might as well." 

"In that case, dear, perhaps you would not mind lift- 
ing down my suit-case ? I am sorry to say the tea is in 
there. Such a bother! These racks are so very high. I 
think they are decidedly higher than the English racks. 
Mind! Do take care! Oh!" 

He: "Ugh!" 

Finally, she spread out a piece of paper, put on it a 


little cup and an odd saucer, the top of the thermos flask,- 
a medicine bottle of milk, and some sugar in a lozenge- 
tin. "I am very much afraid . . ," said she. "Would 
you like me to try it first?" 

He looked over the top of his paper and said drily: 
"Pour it out r 

She poured it out, and gave him the cup and saucer, 
of course, while she gave the most uncomfortable little 
dripping cup in the world to herself and sipped, anx- 
iously watching him. "It is so very . . .?" 

"Might be worse!" 

Fidgeting in her handbag, first she pulled out 
a powder-puff, then a nice substantial handkerchief, 
and then a paper parcel that held a very large wedge of 
cake — of the kind known as Dundee. 

This she cut with a pen-knife, while he watched with 
some emotion. 

"This is the last of our precious Dundee," said she, 
shaking her head over it, and cutting it so tenderly that 
it almost seemed an act of cannibalism. 

"That's one thing I have learned," said he, "and that 
is never to come abroad without one of the Buszard's 

Oh, how she agreed I 

And each taking a large wedge, they bit into it and ate 
solemnly with round astonished eyes like litde children 

' [174] 


in a confectioner's shop who are allowed to eat sitting 
up to the counter. 

"More tea, dear?" 

"No thanks." 

She: "?" A glance. (I sympathise with her glance 
for reply.) 

"I think I will just have a cup," said she gaily, so 
relieved to.have a cup after all. 

Another dive into the bag and chocolate was pro- 

Chocolate! I had not realised before that chocolate is 
offered playfully. It is not a solemn food. It's as though 
one thought it rather absurd. But then — who knows ? 
Perhaps . . . 

"What?" said he, and peered over the paper. "No, 
no!" dismissing the chocolate. 

She had diought as much. 

And having torn up little shreds of paper and wiped 
the cup and saucer and the knife clean, she packed it all 
tight again. But a final rummage in the bag produced 
an oval-shaped paper, which unwrapped was an cg^l 
This sight seemed to fill her with amazement. But she 
must have known the e^c: was there. She did not look 
as though she had. Bright-eyed, her head on one side, 
she stared; and I fancied I heard an interrogatory cluck- 
ing. . . . 


I 9 2 o 

Coleridge's Table Tal\ 

"It is intolerable when men, who have no other knowl- 
edge, have not even a competent understanding of that 
world in which they are always living, and to which they 
refer everything." 

Hear! Hear! 

"Although contemporary events obscure past events in 
a living man's life, yet, so soon as he is dead, and his whole 
life is a matter of history, one action stands out as con- 
spicuously as another." 

Totally wrong! 

"Intense study of the Bible will keep any writer from 
being vulgar in point of style." 

In point of language. 

"I, for one, do not call the sod under my feet my country. 
But language, religion, laws, government, blood— identity 
in these makes men of one country." 

The sod under my feet makes mine. 

" 'Most women have no character at all/ said Pope, and 
meant it for satire. Shakespeare, who knew man and woman 


much better, saw that it, in fact, was the perfection of 
woman to be characterless. Everyone wishes a Desdemona 
or Ophelia for a wife — creatures who, though they may not 
always understand you, do always feel you and feel with 

Now you. are being silly. 

Coleridge's Lectures on Shakespeare 
Stage Illusion 

"Not only are we never absolutely deluded — or any- 
thing like it, but the attempt to cause the highest delusion 
possible to beings in their senses sitting in a theatre, is a 
gross fault, incident only to low minds, which, feeling that 
they cannot affect the heart or head permanently, en- 
deavour to call forth the momentary affections. There ought 
never to be more pain than is compatible with co-existing 
pleasure, and to be amply repaid by thought." 

That is superb. Tchehov v. Barrie. Think here of The 
Cherry Orchard, where orchard, birds, etc., arc quite 
unnecessary. The whole effect of dawn is produced by 
bio tinn g out the candle. 

An author should "have felt so deeply on certain sub- 
jects, or in consequence of certain imaginations, as to make 


it almost a necessity of his nature to see\ for sympathy- 
no doubt, with that honourable desire of permanent action 
which distinguishes genius." 

"It is to be lamented that we judge of books by books, 
instead of referring what we read to our own experience." 

"The second distinct cause of this diseased disposition 
of taste [i.e. perceiving strangeness in the language of the 
poetic drama where we should feel exultation] is the security, 
the comparative equability and ever-increasing sameness of 
human life" 

No! No! No! 

"In his very first productions, Shakespeare projected 
his mind out of his own particular being, and felt, and 
made others feel, on subjects no way connected with him- 
self, except by force of contemplation and that sublime 
faculty by which a great rnind becomes that on which it 

Thou hast said it, Coleridge! 

"Or again imagination acts by so carrying on the eye 
of the reader as to make him almost lose the consciousness 
of words,— to make him see everything flashed, as Words- 
wordi has grandly and appropriately said, — 

Flashed upon that inward eye. 
Which is die bliss of solitude. 

And this without exciting any painful or laborious attention, 
without any anatomy of description, (a fault not uncom- 


mon in descriptive poetry) — but with the sweetness and easy 
movement of nature." 

"There are men who can write passages of deepest 
pathos and even sublimity on circumstances personal to 
themselves and stimulative of their own passions; but they 
are not, therefore, on this account poets." 

Oh, Coleridge! 

(October 1920) 

"It is my earnest desire — my passionate endeavour— to 
enforce at various times and by various arguments and in- 
stances the close and reciprocal connexion of just taste with 
pure morality. Without that acquaintance with the heart of 
man, or that docility and childlike gladness to be made 
acquainted with it, which those only can have who dare look 
at their own hearts — and that with a steadiness which religion 
only has the power of reconciling with sincere humility; — 
without this and the modesty produced by it, I am deeply 
convinced that no man, however wide his erudition, how- 
ever patient his antiquarian researches, can possibly under- 
stand, or be worthy of understanding the writings of Shakes- 

Thou — thou art the man with whom I would speak. [ 
Should we mean the same by religion ? We should not 

(October 21, 1920) 


"Hamlet's wildncss is but half false; he plays that subtle 
trick of pretending to act only when he is very near really 
being what he acts." 



The earth hath bubbles, as the water has 

And these are of them:— Whither arc they vanished? 

Macbeth : 

Into the air; and what seemed corporal, melted 
As breath into the wind. — Would they had staid! 

Is it too minute to notice the appropriateness of the simile 
'as breath,' etc., in a cold climate?" 

No; it's perfect. 

Coleridge on Hamlet 

"Anything finer than this conception and working out 
of a great character is merely impossible. Shakespeare 
wished to impress upon us the truth, that action is the chief 
end of existence— that no faculties of intellect, however 
brilliant, can be considered valuable, or indeed otherwise 
than as misfortunes, if they withdraw us from, or render us 
repugnant to action, and lead us to think and think of doing, 


until the time has elapsed when we can do anything effectu- 
ally. In enforcing this moral truth, Shakespeare has shown 
the fullness and force of his powers; all that is amiable and 
excellent in nature is combined in Hamlet, with the excep- 
tion of one quality. He is a man living in meditation, called 
upon to act by every motive human and divine, but the great 
object of his life is defeated by continually resolving to do, 
yet doing nothing but resolve." 

Who could understand that better than thou, 
Coleridge? I have no doubt that thou wert accusing 
thyself. . . . And yet I wonder whether all great men, 
however developed their power of action, do not always 
think thus of themselves. They are ridden by the desire 
to act, and the performance is only the step to 
another. ... In another sense Fleancc always escapes. 
(Or was that because Macbeth merely employed his mur- 
derers?) Be that as it may, Macbeth holds this phrase 
which has in it every faintest atom of the feelings of a 
writer: This restlessness of ecstasy. 

This book — Coleridge's Essays and Lectures on 
Shakespeare — is certainly a great treasure. But I like to 
"record" that there is much in it which was suited only 
to its time. I feel we have advanced very far since the 
days of Coleridge, and that he (because he is so re- 
strained and handicapped by his audience') would have 
been far more enlightening about Shakespeare to-day. 

[181] ' 

D. H. Latvrcnce 

I made these notes. Read them— will you? 

The Lost Girl: It's important. It ought not to be 
allowed to pass. 

The Times gave no inkling of what it was— never even 
hinted at its dark secret. 

Lawrence denies his humanity. He denies the powers 
of the imagination. He denies life — I mean human life. 
His hero and heroine are non-human. They are animals 
on the prowl. They do not feel: they scarcely speak. 
There is not one memorable word. They submit to 
their physical response and for the rest go veiled, blind 
— faceless, mindless. This is the doctrine of mindless- 

He says his heroine is extraordinary, and rails against 
the ordinary. Isn't that significant? But look at her. 
Take her youth — her thriving upon the horse-play with 
the doctors. They might be beasts butting each other — 
no more. Take the scene when the hero throws her in 
the kitchen, possesses her, and she returns singing to 
the washing-up. It's a disgrace. Take the rotten, rub- 
bishy scene of the woman in labour asking the Italian 
into her bedroom. All false. All a pack of lies! 

Take the nature-study at the end. It's no more than 
the grazing-place for Alvina and her sire. What was 


the "green hellebore" to her? Of course, there is a great 
deal of racy, bright, competent writing in the early 
part — the "shop" part. But it doesn't take a writer to tell 
all that. 

The whole is false — ashes. The preposterous Indian 
troupe of four young men is — a fake. But how on earth 
he can keep it up — is the problem. No, it's not. He has 
"given way." Why stop there? 

Oh, don't forget where Alvina feels a trill in her 
bowels, and discovers herself with child. A trill. What 
does that mean? And why is it so peculiarly offensive 
from a man ? Because it is not on this plane that the emo- 
tions of others are conveyed to the imagination. It's a 
kind of sinning against art. 

Earth-closets, too. Do they exist, qua earth-closets? 
No. I might describe the queer noises coming from one 
when old Grandpa X was there — very strange cries and 
moans, and how the women who were washing stopped 
and shook their heads and pitied him, and even the 
children didn't laugh. Yes, I can imagine that. But 
that's not the same as to build an earth-closet because 
the former one was so exposed. No. 

Am I prejudiced? Be careful! I feel privately as 
though L. had possessed an animal and had fallen under 
a curse. But I can't say that. All I know is: this is bad 
and ought not to be allowed. I feel a horror of it— a 


i 9 2 o 

shrinking. But that's not criticism. 

But this is life when one has blasphemed against the 
spirit of reverence. 


As Gertie the parlour-maid passed through the green- 
baize door that led from the kitchen regions, she nearly 
dropped the tray of dinner silver she was carrying. For 
there, beyond the stairs, in the very middle of the big 
dim hall stood Miss Cassandra — Mrs. Brook — wearing: 
a little black hat with a thick black veil, a long black 
cape, and clasping her hands as if she was praying. Oh, 
she did give Gertie a turn — coming on her so sudden, 
and all in black, too, and standing there so strange. But 
immediately she saw Gertie, Miss Cassandra came to 
life, darted forward and said in her sweet husky voice — 
the servants loved Miss Cassandra's — Mrs. Brook's — 
voice: "Oh, good evening, Gertie. Where is Mother?" 

"Good evening, Miss — Ma'am. In her room. She 
must have just about finished dressing." 

"Is Father with her?" asked Cassandra, putting her 
hand on the banister. 

"No, Miss. It's Wednesday. One of his late nights, 
you know." 


"Oh, yes, I forgot," Then Cassandra said quickly: 
"Where arc the others?" 

"Miss Jinnic's in the drawing-room and Mr. Jack's 
in his dark-room." 

"Thank you, Gertie. Then I'll run up." 

And run she did — skimmed rather, like a bird. 

She knocked at the big cream-panelled door and 
turned the glass handle. 

"Mother, it's me. Can I come in ?" 

"Cassandra!" cried her mother. "Do, darling. Of 
course. What a surprise! What a strange hour!" 

Mrs. Sheridan sat at the dressing-table, clasping her 
pearls. As she spoke, she settled them, and drew down 
her daughter's little dark head and kissed her. The black 
veil only came to Cassandra's nose. Her mother noticed 
that her lips were hot, and through the thick mesh her 
eyes looked dark, enormous. But that meant nothing 
with Cassandra. The child had been to a concert, or 
she'd been reading, or star-gazing simply, or tracking 
down a crying kitten. Anything drew Cassandra into a 

"Do you know how late it is, my child?" she said 
tenderly. "It's just on dinner-time. And I thought 
Richard only got back to-day." 

"Yes, he did," said Cassandra. "This afternoon." She 
gave a little gasp. 


i 9 2 o 

"Then why didn't you . . .?" Her mother broke off. 
"But before we begin talking, darling . . . You 11 stay 
to dinner, of course. Ill just let cook know. She'll be so 
furious if I don't." And she moved towards the bell 
beside the fireplace before Cassandra stopped her. 

"No, Mother, don't! I'm not stopping to dinner. I 
don't want any dinner." Suddenly she threw back her 
cape and with that gesture she seemed to reveal all her 
excitement and agitation. "I've only come to speak to 
you — to tell you something. Because I must — I simply 
must" — and here Cassandra clasped her hands as she 
had in the hall below — "confide in somebody." 

"My precious child, don't be so tragic!" said her 
mother. "You're frightening me. You're not going to 
have a baby, are you ? Because I'm no good at that kind 
of thing. What is it? And don't begin crying if you 
can help it. It's so exhausting!" 

She was too late. Cassandra had begun. Pressing her 
little handkerchief to her eyes, she sobbed. "I can't talk 
in this room. I'm afraid we'll be interrupted. Come into 
my old room, Mother!" And away she sped down the 
passage into her bedroom that was next to the nursery. 

The door of the cold, dim little room was shut be- 
hind them. Cassandra almost sprang upon her mother. 

"Mother!" she cried. "I've been betrayed. I've been 
wickedly, cruelly, deceived. Richard's been false to me. 


But so false!" cried Cassandra, walking away from Mrs. 
Sheridan and shaking her little fist at the ceiling. "But 
so false! So utterly, abominably false!" 

"Child! What are you saying?" cried Mrs. Sheridan. 
She really was taken aback by this. "It can't be true. 
Richard — of all people! How? When? With whom?" 

Instead of replying Cassandra ran back to her mother 
and, half-shutting her eyes, smiling like an actress, she 
declaimed in low passionate tones: "Dearest, you love 
me — still? Ah, my dear one," pleaded Cassandra, fling- 
ing out her hand to her astonished mother. "Don't for- 
get to end each of our daily letters with 'Yes, I love you 
stilT as well as 'Bless you/ and don't forget" — here 
Cassandra raised her hand — "do listen to this bit, 
Mother," she implored — as though her mother was not 
listening — "that though I bask, I <doat in the fact that I 
so perfectly understand your silence, I have a jigsaw of 
longing to hear you speak. . . ." 

After this extraordinary oration Cassandra simply 
stared at her mother. Mrs. Sheridan really thought the 
child had become unbalanced. 

"But what does it mean}" she said. "Did you hear 
this? Did someone say it to him?" 

"No," said Cassandra. She gave a little wave and 
almost laughed. "I found it— and it's a mild specimen, 
my dear — in his collar-bag!" 



Peace of mind. What is peace of mind ? Did I ever 
have it ? It seems "Yes," and yet perhaps that is only 
deception. But at Bandol for instance, or even at 
Hampstead ? Ah, who knows ? The other will not give 
up his secret. What is it? He evades the answer. "I 
swear on my honour." "Look here, I'm absolutely in the 
dark." She cannot believe, and yet she has to believe. 
The letters disappear. All the other letters are left on 
the table, but not those. Why ? I am to forget every- 
thing — to behave as though everything has not been. 
But I can't. Because I don't know what has been, I only 
know he denies a wrong (not an obvious wrong) which 
was committed. It must have been committed. People 
don't write like that pour rien — de Vamitii pure. So 
whenever I look at him and whenever I am with him, 
there is that secret, and I can't give him all I long to give 
him, nor can I rest in him because of it. I have no abiding 
place. Peace of mind. Yes, I had it when I was first here. 
Yes, I had it fully when I wrote Miss Brill. 

No, I've been poisoned by these "letters." How can 
he know someone so strange to me ? to us ? Not only 
know her, but cherish her? 


But the champagne was no good at all. It might have 
been water. I had to drink it because it was there, but 
there was something positively malicious in the way the 
little bubbles hurled themselves to the rim, danced, 
broke. They seemed to be jeering at me. 

I thought, a few minutes ago, that I could have written 
a whole novel about a Liar. A man who was devoted 
to his wife, but who lied. But I couldn't. I couldn't 
write a whole novel about anything. I suppose I shall 
write stories about it. But at this moment I can't get 
through to anything. There's something like a great 
wall of sand between me and the whole of my "world." 
I feel as though I am dirty or disgusted or both. Every- 
thing I think of seems false. 

By all the laws of the M. and P. 
This book is bound to belong to me. 
Besides I am sure that you agree 
I am the English Anton T. 
(Written in 1917 on the fly-leaf of a volume 
of Tchchov's stories belonging to J. M. M.) 

God forgive me, Tchehov, for my impertinence. 

{December 12, 1920) 



Madame Lavcna. 

He kissed and kissed the dark sweet-smelling hand 
with the silver ring. 
Pa— pa! Pa-pa! 

(December 14, J 920) 

"As soon as you speak of male and female — for instance, 
of the fact that the female. spider, after fertilization, devours 
the male— his eyes glow with curiosity, his face brightens, 
and the man revives in fact. All his thoughts, however 
noble, lofty or neutral they may be, they all have one point 
of resemblance. You walk along the street with him and 
meet a donkey, for instance. . . . 'Tell me, please/ he asks, 
'what would happen if you mated a donkey with a camel?' 
And his dreams! Has he told you of his dreams? It is 
magnificent! First, he dreams that he is married to the 
moon, then that he is summoned before the police and 
ordered to live with a guitar. . . ." (Lacvsky, in Tchehov's 
The Duel.) 

Oh darling Tchehov! I was in misery to-night — ill, 
unhappy, despondent, and you made me laugh . . . and 
forget, my precious friend ! 

(December 16, 1920) 


i 9 2 I 


The New Year 

The last day of the old year was dull and cold. All 
day the light was weak and pale and smoky, like the 
light of a lamp when the oil is all but finished and the 
wick begins to burn. Everything looked shabby, even 
the trees — even the sky with its big grey patches. The 
church bells seemed never to stop ringing. The trams 
groaned, dragged past as if they expected every journey 
to be the last, and when there was no other sound, a 
little dog, tied up somewhere, began to yelp as young 
dogs do when they are frightened. 

New Year. When she reached home the New Year 


I 9 2 I 

was there already, pale, mysterious, gentle and so timid. 
It lay in the folds of the curtains, in the shadows of the 
stairs — it waited for her on the landing. She undressed 
quickly, making as little noise as possible and quickly she 
plaited her hair. But as she parted the sheets it seemed 
to her that a single hand — the hand of the New Year — 
drew them down too, and after she was in bed, that 
gentle hand helped to cover her. 

Sophie Bean 

What was there about that little house at the corner 
which made you feel sure a widow lived there ? In the 
tiny sloping garden there grew candytuft, mignonette, 
pansies, Star of Bethlehem. A narrow asphalt path led 
to the door. But there was something about the win- 
dows — something quenched, expressionless. They had 
nothing to hide, nothing to reveal; and there was some- 
thing about the bell that made you know when you rang 
it that the door would not be answered at once. There 
would be an interval of strange, dead quiet, and then 
there would come a faint rustling. 

Sophie Bean sat at the dining-room window in her 
black dress, hemming pillow-slips. She was pale, but in 
the dusky room a whiteness came from the pillow-slips, 


like the whiteness of snow, and made her paler. Her 
hands moved slowly — something depressed her — but it 
had to be done. Nevertheless she very often put it down 
and looked out of the window at the drooping trees, 
the heavy trams chuffing along, and the people who 
passed by, stooping and hurrying as though there was a 
secret reason why they should not be seen. 

The Cat 

To-day, passing the kitchen, the door was open. 
Charles sat up to the table darning socks. And there sat 
beside the ball of wool a large black cat with an old bow 
round its neck. When he took up the scissors, the cat 
squeezed up its eyes as if to say "That's quite right/* and 
when he put the scissors down it just put out its paw as if 
to straighten them, but then it drew its paw back, de- 
ciding that it wasn't worth it. 

Keats* s Letters to Fanny Brawne 

"When I have been, or supposed myself in health . . ." 

"How astonishingly (here I must premise that illness, 
as far as I can judge in so short a time, has relieved my 


mind of a load of deceptive thoughts and images, and makes 
me perceive things in a truer light), — how astonishingly 
does the chance of leaving the word impress a sense of its 
natural beauties upon us! Like poor FalstafT, though I do 
not 'babble/ I think of green fields; I muse with the greatest 
affection on every flower I have known since my infancy — 
their shapes and colours are as new to me as if I had just 
created them with a superhuman fancy. It is because they 
arc connected with the most thoughtless and the hnppiest 
moments of our lives. I have seen foreign flowers in hot- 
houses, of the most beautiful nature, but I do not care a straw 
for them. The simple flowers of our Spring are what I want 
to see again." {February i6, 1820.) 

"Well, may you exclaim, how selfish to wish me to be 
unhappy. You must be so if you love me. Upon my soul, 
I can be contented with nothing else. If you would really 
what is call'd enjoy yourself at a Party — if you can smile in 
people's faces, and wish them to admire you note — you never 
have, nor ever will love me. ... I wish you seriously to look 
over my letters kind and unkind and consider whether the 
Person who wrote them can be able to endure much longer 
the agonies and uncertainties which you arc so peculiarly 
made to create." (May 1820.) 

"They talk of my going to Italy. Tis certain I shall never 
recover if I am to be so long separate from you." (July 5, 

Oh, hear it! 


January 14 

"To be happy with you seems such an impossibility! 
it requires a luckier Star than mine! it will never be." 
{August 1820.) 

"Nothing is so bad as want of health— it makes one 
envy scavengers and cinder-sifters." (August 2], 1820.) 

These letters written during his fatal illness are terri- 
ble to one in my situation. It is frightening that he too 
should have known this mental anguish. And to read 
his letter to Fanny on page 180 [i.e. that of July 5, 
1820] — nay worse, that in which he says she has no right 
to that kind of happiness if she loves him . . . "If you 
can smile in people's faces, and wish them to admire you 
now . . ." My God, does another soul on earth under- 
stand his torment as I do? That kind of thing — which 
she couldn't see was impossible . . . What would he 
have said and felt at B.'s letters? He would have felt 
what I felt. Let no man suffer so again! For mingled 
with all the known suffering is the anguish of despair 
because one is ill. How could anyone let such a thing 
happen to me at such a time ? Or is it my "fate" because 
I am ill ? Do they treat me as posthumous already ? Oh, 
the agony of life! How does one endure it? Oh, I have 


suffered too greatly. Nothing can take it away but one 
thing, and that I am — I feel in my soul — to be denied. 

(January 1921) 

Sunday, January 2 

This afternoon is dreary, it is going dark, but I am 
waiting for somebody. Somebody will come in and not 
go again. He will stay to supper, sleep here and be here 
when I wake in the morning. 

January 8 

I would like to hear J. saying "We'll have the north 
meadow mowed to-morrow," on a late evening in sum- 
mer, when our shadows were like a pair of scissors, and 
we could just see the rabbits in the dark. 

January iS 

There was a Mrs. Bristowe 
Whose other name was Susan; 
She had a badly twisted toe 
And couldn't get her shoes on. 


January so 

J. accused me of always bagging his books as soon as 
he had begun to read them. I said: "It's like fishing. I 
see you've got a bite. I want your line. I want to pull it 

May 19 

"Lone women like to empty houses perish/* 

(Marlowe: Hero and Leander) 

"Far from the town (where all is whist and still, 
Save that the sea playing on yellow sand, 
Sends forth a ratling murmur to the land) 
My turret stands." 

(Marlowe: Hero and Leander) 


Station ClimaUriquc 

"One tries still to fancy that one is here by some chance 
of travel, to flavour the experience with some lingering taste 
of adventure. One tries to fancy one is a little diflerent from 
the others. They belong to the place; they are part of it; 
they arc an essential part of the intense impression it con- 
veys; they could not really belong anywhere else! But one- 
self. . . ." (R. O. Prowsc: A Gift of the Dtts\) 


"How much the knowledge that one is alive for other 
people helps one to feel alive oneself 1" 

"That constant taking of leave which has haunted my 
secret thought." 

War and Peace 

" 'Ho, ho, ho! ha ha! ha ha! Oh! oo!' the soldiers burst 
into a roar of such hearty, good-humoured laughter, in which 
the French line too could not keep from joining, that after it 
seemed as though they must unload their guns, blow up 
their ammunition, and all hurry away back to their homes. 
But the guns remained loaded, the port-holes in the houses 
and earthworks looked out as menacingly as ever, and the 
cannons, taken oft* their platforms, confronted one an- 
other as before." 

This is great art — this book. This is the real thing. It 
is a whole created world. 

The Little Princess in labour. "The most solemn mystery 
in the world was being accomplished." 

Compare this beautiful gravity of feeling with our 
modern "birth" scene. It's not what / am suffering — 
it's the "mystery." 


The Thaw. "It looked as though the sky were melting, 
and without the slightest wind sinking down upon the earth. 
The only movement in the air was the soft downward mo- 
tion of microscopic drops of moisture or mist. The bare 
twigs in the garden were hung with transparent drops 
which dripped on to die freshly fallen leaves. The earth in 
the kitchen garden had a gleaming, wet, blac\ loo\ li\e the 
centre of a poppy, and at a short distance away it melted off 
into the damp, dim veil of fog." 

"Life is everything. Life is God. All is changing and 
moving, and that motion is God. And while there is life 
there is the joy of the consciousness of the Godhead. To 
love life is to love God. The hardest and the most blessed 
thing is to love this life in one's suflerings, in undeserved 

"A spiritual wound that comes from a rending of the 
spirit is like a physical wound, and after it has healed ex- 
ternally, and the torn edges are scarred over, yet, strange to 
say, like a deep physical injury it only heals inwardly by the 
force of life pushing up from within." 

That is true, master. 

"And Pierre had won the Italian's passionate devotion 
simply by drawing out what was best in his soul and ad- 
miring it." 

That is love. 


I 9 2 I 

Pierre and Natasha. "When, on saying good-bye, he 
took her thin, delicate hand he unconsciously held it some- 
what longer in his own." 

This is just what I understand, and so is this: — 

"A joyful, unexpected frenzy, of which Pierre had be- 
lieved himself incapable, seized upon him. The whole mean- 
ing of life, not for him only, but for all the world, seemed 
to him centred in his love and the possibility of her loving 

"She only talked because she needed to exercise her 
lungs and her tongue. She cried like a child, because she 
needed the physical relief of tears, and so on. What for 
people in their full vigour is a motive, with her was obviously 
a pretext." 

Like Polonius. 


" 'Ah, you want a knife?' he said to an officer, who was 
trying to tear off a piece of mutton. And he gave him his 

"The officer praised the knife. 

" 'Please J^eep it, I have several li\e it,' said Petya, blush' 

"Come, again. Strike up, my music. Come! . . ." 

My music! 


"I'm fond of sweet things. They are capital raisins, 
ta\e them all? 

Petya's death. "And again in the helpless struggle with 
reality, the mother, refusing to believe that she could live 
while her adored boy, just blossoming into life, was dead, 
took refuge from reality in the world of delirium. . . ." 

All this is so true of Chummie . . . that . . • 

"For him only that is important to which he, Tolstoi, 
has set his hand; ail that occurs outside and beside him, 
for him has no existence. This is the great prerogative of 
great men. And sometimes it seems to me — perhaps it is 
only that I v/ould have it seem so — as though there were in 
that prerogative a deep and hidden meaning." (Leon 


It fell so softly, so gently, it seemed to him that even 
tenderly it fell. It floated through the air as if it were 
sorry for something, and wanted to reassure him, to com- 
fort him. Forget! forget! all is blotted out, all is hid- 
den — long ago, said the snow. Nothing can ever bring 
it back, nothing can ever torture you again. There is no 
trace left. All is as if it never had been. Your footsteps 


and hers arc long since covered over. If you were to 
look for her, you never would find her. If she were to 
come seeking you, it would be in vain. You have your 
wish, your wish! whispered the snow. You are safe, 
hidden, at peace — free. 

At that moment, upon that word, a clock struck one 
loud single stroke. It was so loud, so mournful, like a 
despairing groan, that the feathery snowflakes seemed 
to shiver, to hesitate an instant, only to fall again faster 
than ever as though something had frightened them. 

The Caj6 

The cafe was all but deserted. Over in the corner 
there sat a poor little creature with two loops of velvet in 
her hat that gave her the look of a rabbit. She was 
writing a letter. First she wrote a little, and then she 
looked up, and the two bows of ribbon seemed to pout, to 
listen. Then she crouched down again and scribbled 
another sheet. Again she looked up. The foxy waiter 
had his eye on her. . . . 

In another corner sat a stout man with a swollen 

shabby black leather bag at his feet. He was yawning 

over a time-table, but occasionally he stopped and gave 

the black bag a little dig, a kick, as if to warn it that it 

[ 202 ] 


was no good falling too fast asleep. They'd have to be 
off soon. 

Aah! Baah! aaah! baah! like thousands of tired sheep 
in the shearing pens at evening-timc. 

And the gum-leaves, like tufts of cock's feathers 
ruffled in the faint breeze. 

March 26 

"A poem should not be something which the maker 
spins out of himself, but something external which he renders 
in verse as faithfully as possible. When Tennyson, for in- 
stance, wrote 

A million emeralds break from die ruby-budded lime, 
he did not tna\e it at all. The lime-tree made it; he just saw 
it." (From an anonymous review.) 



Her face was like a marigold that insisted on keeping 
open too long. 

She looked about as big as a cottage-loaf in a pinafore. 


I said to Dr. Bouchagc, when he wanted to examine 
my abdomen: "Oh, Doctor! Isn't there anything I can 
keep to myself?" And he didn't even smile! 

It is a curious fact that when a writer has attained to a 
certain eminence, we English cease to bother ourselves 
about him. There he is, recognised, accepted, labelled. 

Faint the light shines in the little window; it is easily 
put out. 

The Doctor 

"I suppose, Doctor," my patients are fond of say- 
ing, — for patients flatter their doctors, you know, just as 
much as doctors flatter their patients — "the reason why 
you look always so very stern in your car and never 
glance to the right or left is — that you know so many 
people. I mean if once you began to recognise anybody 
it would be — a — a kind of royal procession from door 
to door. Too dreadfully boring I" 

I more than smile, I fling back my head, wrinkle my 

eyes and give my famous silent little laugh. Then I 

spring to my feet lightly, almost youthfully, incline 

towards the patient, take that confiding little hand in 



mine and say, as I press it reassuringly, "But it needs the 
most dreadful discipline, you know . . . sometimes. 
Goodbye!" And I am gone before the patient has done 
thinking, "Then he did see me that day — after all, I 
was right I" 

But the patient is wrong, of course. Not that it is a 
matter of any importance. But what really happens is — 
I emerge from the hotel, chateau, villa — whatever it is. 
The grey car is drawn up to the pavement edge, and the 
figure of Giovanni leaps to attention on the instant. I 
cross rapidly, pause one moment, my foot on the step, 
and not looking at Giovanni, but looking over his 
shoulder, give him the next address and then leap in, 
light an Egyptian cigarette, thrust my hands into my 
pockets, so as to be ready, at the first movement, at the 
very first gliding motion of the car, to relax, to lean 
back, to give myself up, to let myself be carried, without 
a thought, or a feeling, or an emotion. . . . 

Oh, Bogey, I can't help laughing at the hymns and 
prayers at your lecture. 1 Did you sing? I feel you'd 
like (I'd almost swear to it) to be specially mentioned in 
a prayer. Did you kneel down? And all those rubber 

1 1 had given Kathcrine an account of a lecture at which, to my 
surprise and embarrassment, prayers were offered and hymns 
sung; but I had completely forgoitcn the incident until I found 
this note in one of K. M.'s notebooks. 


I 9 2 I 

ti\is showed on your shoes? Signes cabalistiques. I 
often used to think what a horror they would have given 
Robinson Crusoe. Oh, dear me! Did you have a hymn- 
book of your own, or half the parson's? 

The Clinic Garden 

Carriages are not allowed to drive up to the doors 
of the clinique because of the noise. They stop at the 
big iron gate. Then comes a little walk — on the level, 
it is true, but still quite a walk before the yellow glass 
porch is reached. But there is a compensation, if only 
the patients would realise it. On either side of the gravel 
arc flower-beds full of purple and pink stocks, wall- 
flowers, forget-me-nots and creamy freczias with their 
spears of ♦Tidcr green like the green of young bam- 
boos. The front of the clinique is hung with heliotrope, 
banksia roses and pink ivy geranium. And there is such 
a coming and going of brown bees and white butter- 
flies, the air smells so sweet, there is such a sense of 
delicate trembling life that, however ill anyone might 
be, it was impossible surely not to be cheered" and dis- 
tracted. "Look, look how lovely!" said the plain girl, 
pointing them out to her companion. 

But the young man in a black double-breasted jacket 
[ 206 ] 


put his hands to his ribs and breathed a-huh-a-huh as if 
he were playing trains. 

"How pretty they arc — how very pretty!" said the 
sentimental old mother, wagging her head at them and 
glancing at her daughter. 

But the pale daughter stared back at her spitefully, 
very spitefully, and flung the end of her shawl over her 

Now a bath-chair is pushed along, carrying an old 
man. In his stiff much-too-big overcoat, with his hat 
squeezed down to his ears, he looks marvellously like a 
Guy Fawkes. 

The nurse stops the chair and says "Flowers I" as one 
says "Flowers!" to a baby. But there is no response at 
all; she bridles and wheels it on again. . . . 

Stupefaction totalc. I feel unable to do anything. It 
is a proof of the horribly soporific nature of the codeine 

A little book: Knoc\ings at the Door. When she 
managed to blow the tissue-paper from the frontispiece, 
the author, with his hair parted down the middle, wear- 
ing a buttoned frock-coat and a turned-down collar, 
smiled at her almost too confidingly. 

[Katherine left Mentone for Montreux early in May 



I am in the middle of one of my Giant Coups. Yester- 
day evening I decided to look no longer for doctors in 
Montreux. In fact I felt the hour had come for some- 
thing quite extraordinary. So I phoned Montana — asked 
Dr. Stephani to descend by funiculaire to Sierre and meet 
me here at the Chateau Bellevue at 3 o'clock to-day — 
then engaged a car and started off this morning shortly 
after 9 o'clock. It is years since 1 have done such things; 
it is like a dream. 

Sierre: The room with Seven Doors. Each door is 
different, and the seventh is a very tiny little door. It 
opens into a cupboard painted white, with an arched 
top, sky blue, sprinkled with stars. 

The furniture, stern and dark. 

Unposted Letters 

It's like tliis. It's no good my being here [at Sierre] 
any more. It's too hot and the food has gone off. Also, I 
must tackle my affair seriously, you know. So I am 
going to Montana. Stephani says that he would far 
rather I went to him for a month at least so that he could 
keep my heart under his eye — or car. Good. I agree. But 
[ 203 ] 


there's my Bogey. Will he go to a pension five minutes 
away for a month and visit me? As soon as I find out 
how the place suits me we can get a little chalet. I send 
you a p.c. of your pensions, Stephani's place is not a real 
livc-or-dead sanatorium. He, of course, thinks you 
would like to be with me there. Why not ? It is quite 
usual. But I say No to that, and I'm sure you agree. 
You'd hate it. So would I. 

Look here, my love and my dear, 

I'm not really up to chalets yet. This is what would 
be best of all. Do you agree ? We go to Montana. I go 
to Stephani's for a month at least. You have a room at 
this Pension du Lac. Stephani can then keep his eye and 
his car on me, and I can lie absolutely low for that 
month. Then, in the meantime, we have looked round 
and we take a chalet. Docs that seem possible to you ? 

By Moonlight (To W. J. D.) 

Dinner was ever. There was a whifT of Father's cigar 
from the hall, and then the door of the smoking-room 
shut, clicked. Mother went rustling to and fro, to and 
fro — to the dining-room door, speaking to Zaidcc who 
was clearing away, giving Hans who was helping Zaidcc 


I 9 2 I 

his orders for tomorrow — to the music-room speaking 
to the girls. 

"Francie darling, run upstairs and get me my cream 
feather boa, will you ? My cream one. On the top of the 
tall wardrobe. Come here, child! How beautifully you 
have done your hair!" 

"Really, dearest ? It was simply thrown up. I was in 
such a hurry. . . ." 

"How mysterious it is that if one really tries to get that 
effect ♦ . ." 

"Yes, isn't it?" 

There came a soft chain of sound from the music- 
room, as though Meg had flung a bright loop and snared 
the dreaming piano. 

"We're going to try over Francie's new song," said she. 
"This Life is Weary." 

"This Life is Weary!" cried Mother. "Oh, dear, is it 
another tragic one? I can't understand why all these 
modern songs are so depressing. It seems so unneces- 
sary. Why can't one for a change . . ." 

"Oh, but it's fascinating!" said Meg. "Listen!" And 
softly she played "This Life is We-ary." "You can't say 
you like Cupid at the Ferry better than that?" 

"I do," said Mother. "I like songs about primroses 
and cheerful normal birds and . , . and spring and so 




But Francic came floating down the stairs with the 
feather boa. 

"It wasn't on the tall wardrobe, you little story," said 
she, winding her mother up in it. "It was among your 
hats. And then you always pretend to be so tidy and 
unlike us." 

"If you don't speak to me with more respect," said 
Mother, "I shall go straight off and tell your father. 
Thank you, darling child 1" 

Francie's little wooden heels tapped over the parquet 
floor of the music-room. "Shut the door while we're 
practising, will you,— please, Mother?" 

The door shut an<l. the piano seemed to have been 
waiting until it wai, alone with them, it burst out so 
passionately: "This Life is Weary." 

Silence from the hall. Mother was still, her head bent, 
turning her rings. What was she thinking of? She 
looked up. The double doors on to the porch were open 
and the light in the glass lantern flickered faintly. 
Dreamily she went over to the hall-stand and picked 
something up. "Why," she murmured aloud, "is there 
always one odd glove? Where does it come from?" 

Down the passage, through the green-baize door that 
led to the kitchen regions, sailed Zaidec with her tray 
of trembling glass and winking silver and moon-white 
plates. And Hans followed with the finger-bowls, with 


I 9 2 I 

the fruit-dishes and the plates piled with curls of tange- 
rine peel and shavings of pineapple-rind. 

The last tray was carried; the heavy baize door swung 
to with a "woof." There came a faint ghostly chatter 
from the kitchen. Very far away it sounded. 

Where was Laurie ? He had gone straight off to his 
dark-room after dinner. She wouldn't disturb him — 
no! But all the same Laura slid of! the landing window- 
sill, parted the embroidered velvet curtains that hid her 
so beautifully, and coming on to the stairs leaned her 
arms along the banisters. What was she to do? 

"This Life is Weary! 
A Tear — a Sigh! 
A Love that Chang-cs!" 

sang Francie, And suddenly from that far-away kitchen 
there sounded a shrill little peal of laughter. . . . 

How much bigger the house felt at night! thought 
Laura. All the lighted rooms and the passages that 
were dark and the cupboards and the front and back 
stairs. As to the cupboard under the stairs, Laura's eyes 
widened at the very thought of it. . . . She saw herself, 
suddenly, exploring it with a candle-end. There was the 
old croquet set, last year's goloshes, the shelf of dead 
lamps, and the buffalo horns tied up with ribbons. It was 
like exploring a cave. 


Big — big and empty. No, not empty exactly, but 
awfully strange. For though the lights were up every- 
where, through the open windows the darkness came 
flowing in from outside. It was the darkness that so 
gently breathed in the curtains, gathered in pools under 
the tables, and hid in the folds even of the coats down 
there in the hall. And the stairs! Stairs at night were 
utterly different to what they were by day, and people 
went up and clown them quite differently. They were 
much more important, somehow; they might have led 
to anywhere. 

But just as Laura thought that, she had an idea that 
someone on the top landing was looking down at her. 
Someone had suddenly appeared from nowhere and 
with a brilliant round white face was staring! Oh, how 
awful! And it was shameful, too, to have such ideas at 
her age. She had decided the face was a Chinaman's 
before she had time to look up. What nonsense! It 
was the moon shining through the top landing window. 
And now there were moonbeam fingers on the banisters. 
Laura walked up the stairs slowly, but for some reason 
she tried not to make a sound, and looking down at her 
satin shoes, she pretended they were little birds tip- 
toeing up a dark branch. 

"But now we're at the top of the tree," she told them. 
And she stood with her head bent and her arms by her 


sides, waiting for someone. . . . 

"It's only because people don't know she's here that 
they don't come," thought Laura. "She is wearing a 
white tulle dress with a black velvet sash — very nice! 
Charming! I say, Laurie, introduce me to your sister!" 
And someone came forward, stroking his white kid 

Laura was so delighted she gave a little jump for 
joy, and forgetting all about her resolve, she ran across 
the landing, down the passage, past the American bath- 
room and knocked at the dark-room door. . . . 

This isn't bad, but at the same time it's not good. It's 
too easy. I wish I could go back to N. Z. for a year. 
But I can't possibly just now. 1 don't see why not in two 
years' time, though. 


The Problem 

"Do you think that marriage would be of any use to 

His friend considered gravely. He frowned,- knocked 
his pipe against his heel, and thrust out his underlip. 
"It depends," said he, "very much on the woman." 

"Oh, but of course," said Archie eagerly. 


"Granted the right woman," said Rupert largely, "I 
can imagine it might immensely benefit you." 

The problem is two friends, and a woman enters. One 
marries. 1 


It's nothing short of loathsome to be in my state. 
Two weeks ago I could write anything. I went at my 
work each day and at the end of each day so much v/as 
written. Whereas now I can't say a word! 

The Vagabond 

"The woman from upstairs has just been down to 
put her milk-can out. She was furious when she found 
me in the hall. She simply rounded on me; there's no 
other word for it. Told me I ought to be ashamed of 
myself for waiting up for him, that it served me right 
if he came in later and later, that she'd be ashamed, at 
my age, not to know better. Little spitfire! I'm still 

1 This is, I think, the first "idea" of the unfinished story 
Honesty, of which fragments have been published in The Doves* 


trembling I And what right has she to say anything at 
all ? She has none. She can't understand. She's a hard 
little thing! The very way she shut the door on the 
milk-can just now showed she had no feeling for any- 
one else. 

"It's a long time now since he started going out every 
evening. I can't stop him. I've tried everything, but it 
is useless. Out he goes. And the horrible thing is I 
don't know where it is he goes to and who is he with ? 
It's all such a mystery. That's what makes it so hard to 
bear. Where have you been? I've asked him and asked 
him that. But never a word, never a sign. I sometimes 
think he likes to torture me. 

"But then I've got nobody else. I suppose that sounds 
strange. But I can say as truly as a girl in love: 'He is 
all the world to me.' " 

Autobiography * 

My literary career began with short-story writing in 
New Zealand. I was nine years old when my first at- 
tempt was published. I have been filling notebooks ever 
since. After I came to London I worked for some time 

1 Written, I think, in answer to a request from a literary maga- 
zine, but probably neither sent nor published. 


for The New Age, and published In a German Pension 
in 19 1 2. It was a bad book, but the press was kind to 
it. Later, I worked with my present husband, Mr. John 
Middleton Murry, editor of The Athenaeum, but at that 
time editor of Rhythm and The Blue Review, In 
the past two years I have reviewed novels for The 
Athenccum, and I have written more short stories. Such 
a prolonged exercise ought to have produced some- 
thing a great deal better than Bliss; I hope the book on 
which I am now engaged will be more worthy of the 
interest of the public. It is a collection of stories — one 
with a New Zealand setting in the style of "Prelude." 
Several are character sketches of women rather like 
poor Miss Ada Moss in the story "Pictures." 

Harden Your Heart 

Claire replied most enthusiastically. 

"My dear, how extraordinary that we should be un- 
beknown within reach of each other after all this time! 
I shall love to come to tea on Sunday. It's ages since 
IVe had a real talk with a fellow-creature. I am lunch- 
ing with a Mr. Beaver at the Royal and shall come on 
from there by tram. My carriage days are over! Lucky 
you, to have managed to snare a small villa. As soon 


I 9 2 I 

as I can get the present people out I am moving into a 
minute one myself. I loathe hotels, and as to pen- 
sions . , .! 

Until Sunday dors. Lovingly 


"PS. — Hannah C. told me your news. Ought I to 
be sorry ? I am, because you must have suffered. Other- 
wise I can't help being wickedly glad that another of 
them has been found out!" 

Isobel read the letter over twice. It was curious how 
important letters became when you lived by yourself. 
They seemed to be somehow much more than written 
words on a page. They breathed, they spoke, they 
brought the person before you. And — was it fancy? — 
Isobel heard a sharp note in Claire's gay childlike voice, 
and a something careless — not careless exactly, reck- 
less was more the word— that was quite new. And yet, 
after all, perhaps it was just her imagination. One 
dashed down a little note like that in some hotel writing- 
room with people asking for a loan of your blotting- 
paper or whether there was such a thing as an uncrossed 
nib in your pen-tray. But what could it be ? 

"It's so charming; it's like a portrait: 'Hat with a 


Claire turned pink with pleasure. She smiled a little 
special smile to suit the hat. 

"Really? I'm so glad you like it. I got it in— of all 
places, my dear — Monaco. But I was motoring through 
one day with the David Shetlings and suddenly: There 
it wasl You know how one recognises a hat, — so strange, 
isn't it? So I stopped the car, pinned it on and took my 
old one away in a paper bag." 

"But I was thinking only the other night in bed, love 
is really absolute torment for anybody. One is never at 
peace, one is always thinking about the person, worry- 
ing over them, or being worried over, which is just as 
bad. Whereas now I have time for myself. I haven't 
the constant feeling of a man in the background. Not 
that one doesn't like a man in the background now and 
again," said Claire, laughing and pulling at her fur. 
"But not seriously. Just a little affair to keep one keen 
on one's appearance. Otherwise one is apt to get grumpy 
and eccentric." 

"But I can see, my dear," said Claire, and she put her 
arms round Isobel and gave her a quick strained hug, 
"you're not out of the wood yet. You're still in danger. 
Oh, yes!" She slipped away from Isobel and pulled on 
her white suede gloves with quick little twitching tugs, 
looking down at her hands. Then she looked up, her 


eyes dead and cold, though her lips smiled. -TfouVe got 
to harden your heart, my dear," said Claire. "That's the 
whole secret. Harden your heart! Keep it hard? 

Isobcl said something — it might have been anything — 
and went with Claire to the door. The day was over, the 
air blew cold, and under the light sound of Claire's 
footsteps ringing on the gravel path to the road she heard 
the long slow pull of the cold sea. 

(July 23, 1921) 


"Do you want to go home, want to go home, want to 
go home?" said she. Why she asked it so many times 
nobody will ever know. 

The first year their mother had a flat in London for 
the season Betty and Susannah met more people who 
were not relations in a fortnight than they had seen in 
the whole of their lives. Not that they were very old. 
Betty wore stockings in the winter, bathed herself and 
used a small knife to cut up her own meat, but Susannah 
was still small enough to sit on knees, to believe every- 
thing people said and to drink out of her christening 




"The smell of thyme shattered the silence as the 
scream of a hawk , . ." 

"The hot smell between her teeth ... as she lay 
there clamp and shivering!" 

It is impossible to "take in" all these views and changes 
of light. The innocent girl who barely knew the word 
"obscene" could not think in this fashion: "Was it 
merely as a potentiality that he obsessed her thoughts?" 

Emily Plack. 

The panti fig of the saw. 

"I was in the first stage of consumption, and was suffer- 
ing from something else, possibly even more serious than 
consumption. ... I was, day by day, more possessed by a 
passionate, irritating longing for ordinary everyday life. I 
yearned for mental tranquillity, health, fresh air, good food. 
/ was becoming a dreamer, and like a dreamer, I did not 
know exactly what I wanted." (Tchchov: An Anonymous 


Little children run in and out of this world, never 
knowing the danger; and sick persons feel it slowly 
building up about them, trying to thrust its way into the 
place of the other. That is why they have such a horror 


of being alone . . . anything to break the silence; and 
lonely people, rather than face it, walk tjie streets, gape 
at shows, drink. 

Why did she put his chair in the window always? 
Sun or no sun, she stuck him in the window as if he had 
been a canary! 



The deep grudge that she has for me really is fascinat- 
ing. She keeps it under for a long time at a stretch, but 
oh! — how it is there! To-night, for instance, in the 
salon we hated each other — really hated in a queer way. 
I felt I wanted her out of my sight; she felt that she 
must insult me before she went. It was very queer. It 
was peculiarly horrible. When she said, "I hope you are 
satisfied," I had a real shrinking from her — something 
I never feel at other times. What is it ? I don't under- 
stand, either, why her carelessness and recklessness 
should be so repellent to me. When she tosses her head 
and says in a strange voice, "Oh, a lot I care!" I want to 
be rid of the very sight. 

" 'That's how it is, old girl. . . . Kuzma Ionitch is 
gone. ... He said goodbye to me. ... He went and died 
for no reason. . . . Now, suppose you had a little colt, and 
[ 222 1 


you were own mother to that little colt. . . . And all at 
once that same little colt went and died. . . . You'd be 
sorry, wouldn't you?' 

"The little mare munches, listens, and breathes on her 
master's hands. Iona is carried away and tells her all about 
it." (Tchchov: Misery.) 

I would see every single French short story up the 
chimney for this. It's one of the masterpieces of the 

N. Z. Honesty: The Doctor and his wife, Arnold Cul- 
len, Lydia, and Archie. 

L. One Kiss: Arnold Alexander and his friend in the 
train. Wet lilac. 

N. Z. Six Years After: The wife and husband on the 
steamer. The cold buttons. 

N. Z. A unt Anne: Her life with the Tannhauser over- 

L. Lives li\e Logs of Driftwood. 

N. Z. A Wca\ Heart: Edie and Ronnie. 

L. Widowed: Gcraldine and Jimmic. 

N. Z. Our Maude: "What a girl you are!" 
The Washerwoman s Children. 

[This is evidently the first form of the list of stories given 
in the introduction to The Doves' Nest, and the following 
sentences belong to the first conception of One Kiss, which 

[ 223 ] 


I 9 2 I 

became Second Violin, but was never finished. They are 
interesting as an example of Katherine's later method of 
composition. But it must be remembered that only one of 
these stories was finished: namely, The Washerwoman's 
Children, which finally became the masterpiece, The Doll's 
House. It is notable that this was added apparently as an 
afterthought to die list given above; it subsequently appears, 
with the title At Karori, in the fuller list dated October 27, 

"N. Z. At Karori: The little lamp. I seen it. And then 
they were silent." Three days later the entry is completed 
with: "Finito, 30. x. 21." 

This suggests that in fact Katherine's inspirations were 
much more sudden and unexpected than she herself realized, 
and that she had to capture them quickly or they would 
escape her. Anyhow, the fact is remarkable that of nearly 
all her completed stories nothing but the stories diemselves 
remain. Of these stories there are, generally, no notes, no 
alternative drafts, no "false starts," but only an original manu- 
script written at ever increasing speed so that the writing 
towards the end is hardly more than a hieroglyph. In some 
cases there is a fair copy, with singularly little alteration.] 

One Kiss 

And the friend opposite gazed at him thinking what 
an attractive mysterious fellow he was. And the train 
sped on. . . . 


Flashy and mean. . . . 

It was spouting with rain. Yet there was that feeling 
of spring in the air which makes everything bear- 
able . . . 

The big sprays of flowers . . . 

He shot out his legs, flung up his arms, stretched, then , r ;fr* 
sat up with a jerk and felt in his pocket for the yellow 
packet of cigarettes. As he felt for them a weak strange 
little smile played on his lips. His friend opposite was 
watching it. He knew it. Suddenly he raised his head; 
he looked his friend full in the eyes. 

"That was a queer thing to happen," he said softly 
and meaningly. 

"What?" asked the friend, curious. 

Alexander kept him waiting for the answer. Practised 
liar that he was, the . . . 

[The above appear to have been notes of the original 
"idea" of the story. On another page a beginning is made 
with the writing.] 

It happened that Alexander and his friend missed the 
Sunday morning train that all the company travelled by. 
The only other for them to catch so as to be at their 
destination in time for the rehearsal on Monday morn- 
ing was one that left London at midnight. The devil 


of a time! And the devil of a train, too. It stopped at 
every station. "Must have been carrying the London 
milk into the country," said Alexander bitterly. And 
his friend who thought that there was no one like him 
said, "That's good, that is. Extremely good! You could 
get a laugh for that on the halls, I should say." 

They spent the evening with their landlady in her 
kitchen. She was fond of Alexander; she thought him 
quite the gentleman. 

[In The Doves' Nest, p. 216, will be found an entirely 
new beginning of the story: "Tve a run of three twice, 
ducky,* said Ma."] 

The S\crritt Girl 

On her way back to the garden Susannah sat down 
on the hall chair for a minute to take a pebble out of her 
shoe. And she heard her mother say: "No, I can't possi- 
bly do that. I can't possibly turn that dear good Mr. 
Taylor out of the house simply to make room for this 
Skerritt girl." 

It was a little difficult to explain the facts of the case to 
the Reverend Mr. Taylor, and Mrs. Downing hated 
having to do so. It seemed so unreasonable to ask him to 


turn out of the spare-room for the night for an unknown 
girl, when he was their regular guest, as it were, for the 
whole Synod, and so appreciative — poor lonely up- 
country man — of the spare-room double-bed. But there 
was nothing else to be done. In that extraordinary way 
men have, Harry, Mrs. Downing's husband, had rung 
up from the office to tell her that a Netta Skcrritt had 
called on him that morning as she was passing through 
Wellington on her way to Nelson, and though neither 
of the Downings had even seen her before, simply be- 
cause her father and Harry Downing had known each 
other in the old days, Harry had immediately asked her 
to stay the night with them. 

At that moment Susannah herself came in from the 
garden. She leaned her elbow on the round walnut 
table, crossed her legs, and cupped her burning cheeks in 
her hands. 

"And you really won't mind Susannah's bed for the 
night, Mr. Taylor ?" said Mrs. Downing anxiously, pour- 
ing him out a second cup of tea. 

"Not at all, Mrs. Downing. I shall be as happy as a 
king," said good cheerful Mr. Taylor. 

But Susannah's eyes opened very wide. Her lips 
parted, she stared first at her mother, and then at Mr. 
Taylor's black coat, gleaming collar, and big yellow 


"Is Mr. Taylor going to sleep in my bed, Mother?" 
said she, astounded. 

"Yes, dear, but only for to-night," said her mother, 
absently folding a piece of bread-and-butter. Mr. Taylor 
smiled his broad smile. 

Susannah imagined him. lying in her bed, his head 
tilted back, snoring like he snored on Sunday after- 
noons. How awful 1 

"With meV y she asked, horrified. 

Mother flushed faintly, and Mr. Taylor gave a loud 
snort that might have been laughter. 

"Don't be such a silly little girl, Susannah. Of course 
not. You are going to sleep in the spare room with Miss 

This was more mysterious still. Oh dear, why were 
grown-ups like this ? She had only run in for a piece 
of bread-and-butter; she wanted to get back to the gar- 
den. And here dicy were sitting in this dark room. It 
looked very dark, and the white cups shone on thcwal- 
nut table like lilies in a lake, after the bright outside. 

A moment later and there was nothing left of Netta 
Skerritt but a dint in die pillow and one long — much 
too long — blue-black hairpin gleaming on the pale 




Lucien's mother was a dressmaker. They lived in the 
village with the big church down in the valley. It was 
a very big church, it was enormous; it had two towers 
like horns. . . . On misty days, when you climbed the 
hill and looked down and you heard the great bell jan- 
gle, it reminded you of a large pale cow. Lucien was 
nine years old. He was not like other boys. For one 
thing he had no father, and for another he did not go 
to school, but stayed at home all day with his mother. 
He was delicate. When he was very small his head had 
gone so soft, so soft, like a jelly, that his mother had had 
to clap two boards to it to prevent it from shaking. It 
was quite hard now, but the shape was a little bit cjucer, 
and his hair was fine, like down rather than real hair. 
But he was a good child, gentle, quiet, giving no trouble, 
and handy with his needle as a girl of twelve. The cus- 
tomers did not mind him. The big, blousy peasant 
women who came to his mother's room to try on, un- 
hooked their bodices and stood in their stays, scratching 
dicir red arms and shouting at his mother, without so 
much as a glance at him. And he could be trusted to go 
shopping. (With what a sigh his mother rummaged 
in the folds of her petticoat, brought out her shabby purse 
with a clasp, and counted and thumbed the coins before 


she dropped diem into his claw!) He could be trusted 
to leave at the right houses large bulky newspaper par- 
cels held together with long rusty pins. On these excur- 
sions Lucien talked to nobody and seldom stopped to 
look. He trotted along like a little cat out-of-doors, keep- 
ing close to the fences, darting into the shop and out 
again, and only revealing himself fully when he had to 
stand tiptoe on the top step of the house and reach up 
for the high knocker. This moment was terrifying to 
him. • • . 

The Sisters 

Just as they reached the gate, Agnes turned back. 

"Where are you going to now, my dear?" said Ger- 
trude quickly. 

"The sun's so boiling, I must have my parasol." 

"Oh, well, bring mine too, will you?" And Gertrude 
waited. In her pink dress, widi one hand on the half- 
open gate, she felt like a picture. But, unfortunately, 
there was no one to see except the florid butcher spank- 
ing past in his yellow cart. Well, even a butcher is some- 
body, she thought, as Agnes came running back over 
the small blue gravel. 

'Thanks! It is boiling. I had no idea." 


"Roasting— isn't it?" said dark Agnes. 

And, putting up their parasols, of! they sailed down 
the Avenue, on the way to the Misses Phipps to try on 
their new evening dresses. There they go, thought Ger- 
trude, and there they go, thought Agnes, — die daughters 
of rich parents, young and attractive, one fair, one dark, 
one a soprano, one a contralto, with all the really thrill- 
ing things in life still to happen to them. And just then 
Major Trapp on his big chestnut horse turned into the 
Avenue, and dashing past saluted them; and they both 
bowed, charmingly, graciously like swans. 

"He's out very early," said Gertrude. 

"Very!" came from Agnes. 

"I've not got my hat too far forward, have I ?" asked 
Gertrude anxiously. 

"I don't think so," answered wicked Agnes. 

By great good fortune the tram was empty. The sis- 
ters had it all to themselves. Feeling grand, down they 
sat in one of the small wooden pens. The conductor 
blew his whistle, the driver banged his bell, the fat small 
horses started forward and away diey swung. Merrily 
danced the pink bobbles on the fringes of the cotton 
blinds, and gaily the sunlight raced under the arched 

"But what on earth am I to do with this?" cried Ger- 

• [231] 

trade, gazing with exaggerated scorn and horror at the 
bouquet which old Mr. Phipps had cut and bound to- 
gether so lovingly. 

Agnes screwed up her eyes and smiled at the unearthly 
white and gold arum lily and the dove-blue columbines. 
"I don't know," said she. "You can't possibly cart it 
about with you. It's like a barmaid's wedding bouquet ." 
And she laughed and put her hand to her glorious coil 
of thick hair. 

Gertrude tossed it on to the floor, and kicked it under 
the seat. Just in time, as it happened. 

Vaihinger: Die Philosophic des Als Ob. How comes 
it about that with curiously false ideas we yet reach 
conclusions that are in harmony with Nature and ap- 
peal to us as Truth ? 

It is by means of, and not in spite of, these logically 
defective conceptions that we obtain logically valuable 
results. The fiction of Force: when two processes tend 
to follow each other, to call the property of the first to 
be followed by the other its "force," and to measure that 
"force" by the magnitude of the result {e.g. force of 
character). In reality we have only succession and co- 
existence, and the "force" is something we imagine. 


Dogma: absolute and unquestionable truth'. 

Hypothesis: possible truth (Darwin's doctrine of 

Fiction: is impossible but enables us to reach what is 
relatively truth. 

The myths of Plato have passed through these three 
stages, and passed back again, i.e. they are now regarded 
as fiction. 

1 Why must thinking and existing be ever on two dif- 
ferent planes? Why will the attempt of Hegel to trans- 
form subjective processes into objective world-processes 
not work out? "It is the special art and object of think- 
ing to attain existence by quite other methods than that 
of existence itself." That is to say, reality cannot become 
the ideal, the dream; and it is not the business of the 
artist to grind an axe, to try to impose his vision of life 
upon die existing world. Art is not an attempt of the 
artist to reconcile existence with his vision; it is an 
attempt to create his own world in this world. That 
which suggests the subject to the artist is the unit \en ess 
to what we accept as reality. We single out — we bring 
into the light — we put up higher. 





The Little Frog 

"Presently in the scale of complexity we find a higher 
power in charge which co-ordinates the activity of a mass 
of cells, moving one and stopping another for 'reasons' be- 
yond the cognizance of the individual cells. A very ex- 
traordinary demonstration of such higher control can be 
made in the case of the frog. If part of the brain of a frog 
be removed he goes on living, but has become an automaton. 
Placed on a level board he sits there until he dries up. But 
if the board is gradually lifted, so that his position becomes 
unstable, he walks up the board and at length sits on the 


end, climbing down the other side if the lifting is continued 
beyond the vertical." (Cosmic Anatomy.) 

Poor little frog! He breaks my heart. 

Climbing Down 

"We live, so far as it is possible for us to do, in the 
isolated world of 'conscious mind' and the associated phe- 
nomenal world of sight. A blinded man changes his world, 
a deafened man only loses a few trifles in the one he knows. 
It is useless for a man to hope for any mystic expansion of 
consciousness till he can use such as is at present potentially 
in his reach. In fact the real expansion of consciousness is 
tills taking up of possessions within our reach. We have in 
evolution 'climbed up' our spinal cord (as physiology shows) 
and sit in our head and look on the outside of everything; 
we have now to climb down again and learn to see all the 
numerous insides as well." {Cosmic Anatomy?) 

Psych o-analysis 

"It appears that the true function of psycho-analysis is 
to change faith to understanding through the medium of 
analysis whereby we reach knowledge. But it is more than 
questionable whether this is what many psycho-analysts are 
doing. For there is the other road, very similar in appear- 
ance, by which the fusion of faith and belief results in 
intellect and where the birth is into the lower instead of 
into die higher worlds." 


I 9 2 2 

"It is true that the days of considering thought to be a 
secretion of the brain, as bile is of the liver, are past (partly, 
no doubt, because were this so the calorimeter would show 
it!); but the latest of the sciences, namely, psycho-analysis, 
seems to have returned perilously near to this position." 
(Cosmic Anatomy.) 

Dream Personalities 

"I have long recognised some of the 'people' met in 
dreams as personifications of the different 'personalities' in 
'myself,' as is accepted by psycho-analysis. But there are 
other 'people' to whom this does not apply, unless we are 
prepared entirely to change the meaning which we give to 
'personalities,* 'myself,' and all such words." {Cosmic 

Sexual Preoccupation 

"It is quite beyond question that the sexual preoccupa- 
tion of the present day is utterly bad, and whether it be in 
the way of gratification or repression holds the mind fixed 
in a most undesirable attitude. ... So long as men and 
women are unable to think of anything but sexual gratifica- 
tion when within sight of one of the other sex, the condition 
is obviously deplorable." {Cosmic Anatomy.) 

W. R. is a mixture of W. L. George, Disraeli and 
Mrs. Henry Dudeney. 
[ 230 ] 


January 28 

The Nation and Athenaeum came. I have a deep sus- 
picion of B. He is horrid, and I feci he is going to attack 
me. It's a prophetic feeling. There was an article on 
psycho-analysis so absurd, ugly and ridiculous that it's 
difficult to understand how any editor could have let it 
pass. J. read me his review 1 of Oragc; it seemed to mc 
brilliant. lie has improved out of all knowledge. I don't 
think he lias any idea how he has found himself lately. 
All sounds so easy — so to flow off his pen, and that hard 
dogmatic style has quite gone. He is a real critic. 

Dcnn jeder sieht und stcllt die Sachen andcrs, cben 
nach seiner Wcise. 

(1) To escape from the prison of the flesh — of matter. 
To make the body an instrument, a servant. 

(2) To act and not to dream. To write it dotirn at 
all times and at all costs. 

What is the universal mind ? 

Kratu smara Kritani smara Kratu smara Kritanismar. 
(From the Isha Unpanishad.) 


February 7 

My mind is not controlled. I idle, I give way, I sink 
into despair. And though I have "given up" the idea 
of true marriage now (by the way, what an example is 
this of the nonsense of time. One week ago we never 
were nearer. A few days ago we were fast. And now I 
feel I have been away from J. for months. It's true I can- 
not bear to think about the things I love in him . . . 
little things. But if one gives them up they will fade) 
I am not complete as I must be. 

February 8 

A day passed in the usual violent agitation, such as J. 
only can fling me into. Now, he will come. There's no 
stopping him. But it's put down to my wanting him. 
He is absolutely entanelcd in himself, as usual. First, 
my novel wouldr", . i it would. Never was such a 
(coin a word) shell-fishl I hate this in him. It's low to 
put it all down to me, too. And when he chooses to 
find tears, he'll find them. There wasn't a suspicion of 
a tear. In fact, this whole possible devastating affair 
which nearly kills me — revolts me too. His very frank- 
ness is a falsity. In fact it seems falser than his insin- 


cerity. I've often noticed that. Went to that flat with 
the "girls and Uncle." The view outside. Showing off 
the bedroom. "Voila la chambreI" 

February g 

Have got a bad chill. . . . L. M. has been noble about 
this looking for flats, for she is worn out, and she abso- 
lutely docs not complain once. Just goes and does it all. 
I have fever and feel as though I've got a very bad attack 
of chill coming on. Nothing makes me ill like this busi- 
ness with J. It just destroys me. . . • 

February 10 

J. arrived early in the morning, with a letter for me 
never to be forgotten. In half an hour it seemed he had 
been here a long time. 

The New Baby 

At half-past ten the yacht steamed into the Sound, 
slowed down. . . . "Hullo!" said someone. "We've 
stopped." For a moment, and it seemed like a long 
moment, everybody was silent. They heard the crying 


of the little waves from the distant beach, the soft moist 
breath of the large wind came flowing gently over the 
dark sea. And, looking up at the sky, one fancied that 
those merrily burning stars were telling one another that 
the yacht had anchored for the night. 

Then, "Come on, girls!'' cried the genial old Mayor. 
And Gertrude Pratt began to bang out The Honeysuckle 
and the Bee on the squat tiny little piano. As the whole 
party had sung the same song every night for the past 
three weeks, die noise was considerable, but very pleas- 
ant. It was an extraordinary relief after the long daz- 
zling day to lie on deck and put all one's heart into 

I love you dearly, dearly and I 
Want you to love me. . . . 

You couldn't say these tilings. And yet you felt them. 
At least — the ladies did. Not for anybody in particular 
but for everybody, for the lamp even, hanging from the 
deck-awning, for Tanner the steward's hand as it stroked 
the guitar. Love! Love! there was no escaping it; It 
was all very well to pretend to be interested in other 
things, to look through the glasses, to ask the Captain 
intelligent questions as you stood on the bridge, to ad- 
mire Mrs. Strutt's marvellous embroidery. . . . 

There were exquisite small shells to be found on these 


beaches, a small greeny-blue kind, coral spirals, and tiny 
yellow ones like grains of maize. 

They asked them questions, had a good look at every- 
thing, ate the fruit, or whatever they were offered, and 
took photographs. If there was a swing — and there was 
usually an old-fashioned one, hanging from a branch in 
the orchard — the girls got the men to push them, and 
they flew, their gossamer veils streaming, while the 
Mayor sat out on the verandah talking to their host, and 
the older ladies had a quiet chat somewhere within 

"We ... my wife, that is . . ." But it would not do. 
He began to smile and it seemed he could not smile 
. . . simple . . . childish . . . yes. "As a matter of fact 
our first kid turned up this morning at half-past three. 
A fine boy." 

The Mayor stopped and dug his umbrella into the 
sand. He didn't quite grasp it for the moment. "You 
mean—was born?" said he. 

"That's it," said the other, nodding. 

"Great Scott!" said the Mayor, and he turned back 
and called his wife. "Mother! they've got a new baby!" 

The flowers in the garden loo\ li\c it. So do the little 
wet shells on the beach. So docs the house. All seems 


to breathe freshness, peace. I especially see those shells — 
so naive-looking. 

"Take them!" he said gently, and bending down he 
ruffled the leaves and began to gather the fruit. 

"Stop! Stop!" she said, shocked. "You're cutting them 
all. You'll have none on the bush." 

"Why not?". he said simply. 'Tou're welcome!" 

And they came away thinking "What a life!" All 
very well to land there for an hour or two on a glorious 
morning, but imagine being stuck there, month in — 
year in, year out — with nothing to look at but the sea, 
with for one's greatest excitement — getting fresh ferns 
for the fireplace! "Christ! what a life!" thought die 
men, pacing up and down the deck waiting for the 
lunch-bell, and ;: My dear, just imagine it!" thought the 
ladies, powdering their noses in the flat cabin mirrors. 
And lunch in the bright saloon, with the port-holes 
open and the stewards flying to and fro in their linen 
jackets, always seemed particularly good afterwards. 

(February 26, 1922) 

Artistic Experience 

"It is automatic knowledge we want, not intellectual. 
. . . We should few of us have our eyes intact if we left 
them to our intellect to guard. When man opens his 'con- 
[ 242 ] 


i sciousncss,* not his 'thinking consciousness/ to die direct 
I contacts he will not need to 'think' what lie wants to do, 
j he will follow naturally the push or flow of cosmos. He will 
: have become automatic in the way in which a gyroscope is 
fj automatic, and will tend naturally to those 'points' in cosmos 
| where the burden is heaviest and the experience most full, 
j as our bodies do." {Cosmic Anatomy.) 

Death as Deluge 

"The happening is clearly understandable if we re- 
member, to begin with, that the earthly body is only the 
shell — the clay with which the framework of the real 'body* 
is coated. The little flood in the man's own little cosmos 
begins to rise; he flics to the mountains, taking with him his 
household goods, but leaving his house behind him, which, 
bereft of his care, crumbles and is a lodging for worms. The 
flood follows; on he climbs, throwing away his possessions, 
till at last, almost naked, he reaches a place of safety, where 
he stays till the little deluge is over. When the waters retire 
he comes down, gathers together such of his goods as he 
can find, builds a new homeland starts life again in the 
'state into which it has pleased God to call him.' " {Cosmic 

Images of Truth 

"The craze for phallicism is as tiresome as Sun Myths 
and Golden Boughs. They arc all true in their own octave, 


and foolish when transferred to the wrong octave. But there 
is no escape from this so long as man thinks himself to be 
only a bifid radish. All our condescension in permitting to 
the ancients the use of poetic license is entirely misplaced. 
All the diings which a poet describes if he is a real poet, are 
quite as real as brick walls and railway trains." {Cosmic 


"Analogy is one of the most valuable instruments that 
we have. By well-chosen analogy we can make shift to 
think on matters which are beyond our grasp until such time 
as we can throw die analogy aside, having replaced it by 
some mind-form special to the matter. Each time that we 
do this we have made a step towards the evolution of 
reality." {Cosmic Anatomy?) 

An Unposted Letter 

I feci as though I have become embedded in this hotel. 
The weeks pass and we do less and less, and seem to 
have no time for anything. Up and down in the lift, 
along the corridors, in and out of the restaurant — it's a 
whole, complete life. One has a name for everybody; 
one is furious if someone has taken "our tabic," and the 
little gritty breakfast-trays whisk in and out unnoticed, 
and it seems quite natural to carry about that Iicavy key 


with the stamped brass disk 134. I am 134, and Murry 
is 135. 

Oh, dear — I have so much to tell you, so much I would 
like to write about. Your last enchanting letter has 
remained too long unanswered. I wish you could feci 
the joy such letters give me. When I have finished 
reading one of your letters, I go on thinking, wishing, 
talking it over, almost listening to it. . . . Do feci, do 
know how much I appreciate them — so much more than 
I can say! 

I must reply about "Ulysses." I have been wondering 
what people are saying in England. It took me about 
a fortnight to wade through, but on the whole I'm dead 
against it. I suppose it was worth doing if everything is 
worth doing . . . but that is certainly not what I want 
from literature. Of course, there are amazingly fine 
things in it, but I prefer to go without them than to pay 
that price. Not because I am shocked (though I am fear- 
fully shocked, but that's "personal"; I suppose it's unfair 
to judge the book by that) but because I simply don't 
believe. . . . 

My Darling 

Well, who could have believed it — who could have 
imagined it? What a marvellous, what a miraculous 


thing has happened! I'm trembling, I feel quite . . . 
But I mustn't get too excited; one must keep one's sense 
of proportion. Becalm! 

I can't. I can't! Not just for the moment. If you could 
feel my heart! It's not beating very fast, not racing, as 
they say, but it's simply quivering — an extraordinary 
sensation — and if I am quite sincere, I feel such a long- 
ing to kneel down. Not to pray. I scarcely know what 
for. To say "Forgive me!" To say "My darling!" But 
I should cry if I said it. My darling! My darling! Do 
you know I've nevrr known anyone well enough to call 
them that. It's a beautiful word, isn't it? And one puts 
out one's hand when one says it and just touches the 
other. . . . No, no. It's fatal to think such things. One 
mustn't let oneself go. 

Here I am — back in my room. I should like to go over 
to the window and open it wide. But I daren't yet. 
Supposing he were looking out of his and he saw; it 
might seem marked. One can't be too careful. I will 
stay where I am for the present until my — my excite- 
ment dies down a little. No. 134. That is the number 
of my room. I only realized at that moment that I am 
still holding my big flat door-key. What is his number? 
Oh, I have wondered that so often. Shall I ever know ? 
Why should I ? And yet what has just happened . . . 

If a flash-light photograph had been taken at that 


moment, or a fire had broken out, and we had been 
unable to move and only our charred bodies found, it 
would have been the most natural thing in the world for 
people to suppose we were — together. We must have 
looked exactly like the other couples. Even his reading 
the newspaper and not speaking to me seemed to make 
it more natural. . . . 

This tenderness, this longing. This feeling of waiting 
for something. What is it? Come! Come! And then 
one goes out, and there are new leaves on the trees, the 
light shakes on the grass and everywhere there is a gentle 

I have never been very good at imagining things. 
Some people have so much imagination. They make 
up long stories about the future. 

May 28 

It seems so much more real now than when I last 
wrote. Then I felt that at any moment I would be 
whisked back into my cage; and every time I went out, 
I wondered if I should have to turn back. But it's mar- 
vellous how soon one accepts blessings. Curses one 
never gets used to. | 


Comme il faut 

At precisely the right moment, neither too early nor 
too late, their large blue car, which was exactly like all 
the other cars, turned in at the iron gates, scrunched over 
the small gravel and came to a stop under an immense 
glass porch. Their behaviour then and the moment 
after was perfect. Unhurried, even a little reluctant, 
they got out. She stood staring, with no expression what- 
ever in her blue eyes, over the heads of those who were 
already established at the garden tables; and he looked 
faintly contemptuous, bored, and as if determined to 
stand no nonsense from the dog-like fawning waiters. 

Normal or Average? 

"The failure of Lombroso and his followers, as Max 
Nordau, to understand the position comes from the mis- 
taken view that man is a simple and not a compound 
thing. Admitting the definition of degenerate, viz. 'that 
which cannot fulfil its function in the world and propagate 
itself,' a body may well be degenerate and yet 'better value* 
to a psyche which is not bent on propagating bodies than 
a most eugenic body which cannot detect any but the sexual 
aromas of the world. Degeneracy means in fad a departure 
from the 'normal,' a word which has done more harm to 


modern thinking than has almost any other conception, for 
it seems to have escaped notice that it means only 'average/ 
Many who feel some kind of pride in being normal, or a 
moral obligation to remain so, would have no wish to be 
classed as average." (Cosmic Anatomy.) 

Most interesting! 

Reincarnation and Heredity 

"Some of the difficulties of reconciling heredity and 
reincarnation would, I think, be removed if it were recog- 
nised that many of the habits and tricks which arc looked 
upon as disproving reincarnation since they arc taken as 
clear evidence of heredity (as, too, of the identity of a 
'ghost' with a departed man), arc entirely physiological, or 
at any rate of a very low grade on the psychological scale, 
and have little if anything to do with the reincarnating ego, 
being dependent on Soma." {Cosmic Anatomy) 

Gods and Devils 

"It is an important fact, which is often forgotten, that 
the essential for existence, on whatever level we consider it, 
is struggle. Life is manifest by change, and growth; Death 
by change in the opposite direction, so to speak. Struggle 
leads either towards unity or diversity, and the one we call 


God, the other the Devil, though they arc both the same 
Absolute. Man has climbed towards God by crushing his 
vessel of matter towards the Devil, but has left with it in 
return that 'odour of the ointment' by which it will some day 
be directed in its climb when the hour strikes. Just as there 
are many grades of gods, so too of devils. The greatest 
of these is the All-Mother. . . . Without which there would 
be no Cosmos. The latest is, perhaps, Jehovah; for each 
God, after we have passed him on the way, marks for us a 
stage towards our starting-point, not our goal, and hence 
comes one of our difficulties. Man being actually a complex 
machine of many parts, for each of these parts the god and 
devil of the momeut is different, and in accepting as we do 
that Intellect shall rule the Community we have set up an 
impossible state of things." (Cosmic Anatomy.) 

Mr. Rend all and the Cat 

As old Mr. Rendall sat at the window with the rag 
over his knees, with his spectacles, folded handkerchief, 
medicine and newspaper on a little table beside him — as 
he sat there, looking out, he saw a large, strange cat 
bound on to the fence and jump right into the very 
middle of his lawn. Old Mr. Rendall hated cats. The 
sight of this one, so bold, so care-free, roving over the 
grass, sniffing, chewing at a blade of something as 
though the whole place belonged to it, sent a quiver of 


rage through him. He shifted his feet in the felt slip- 
pers, his hands lifted, trembled, and grasped the knobs 
of his chair. 

"Tss!" he said, glaring spitefully at the cat. But it was 
a small feeble sound. Of course, the cat did not hear. 
What was to be done? His yellowish old eyes glanced 
round the parlour for something to throw. But even 
supposing tjicre had been something— a shell of! the 
mantelpiece, or a glass paper-weight from the centre 
table, surely old Mr. Rendall knew he could no more 
throw it at the cat than the cat could throw it back at 

Ah, the hateful beast! It was a large tabby with a 
thin tail and a round flat face like a penny bun. Now, 
folding its paws, it squatted down exactly opposite the 
parlour window, and it was impossible not to believe 
that its bold gaze was directed expressly at him. It knew 
how he hated it. Much it cared. It had come into his 
world without asking, it would stay as long as it chose 
and go again when the fancy seized it. 

A cold snatch of wind raked the grass, blew in the fur 
of the tabby, rattled the laburnum, and sent the kitchen 
smoke spinning downwards on the stony little garden. 
High up in the air it seemed to old Mr. Rendall that the 
wind was against him, too, was in league with the cat, 
and made that shrill sound on purpose to defy him. 


Spring in Tyrrell Street 

On a fine spring morning, one of those delicious spot- 
less mornings when one feels that celestial housemaids 
have been joyfully busy all through the night, Mrs. 
Quill locked the back door, the pantry window, and the 
front door, and set off for the railway station. 

"Good-bay, wee house!" said she, as she shut the gate, 
and she felt the house heard and loved her. It was not 
quite empty. In her bedroom, in his cradle, Chi-chi lay 
sleeping his morning sleep. But the blind was down 
and he was so beautifully trained. She counted on him 
not waking up until she was back. 

At that hour, all the little houses in Tyrrell Street 
basked in the radiant light; all the canaries, in their 
little houses hanging from the verandah poles, sang 
their shrillest. It was difficult to understand how the 
infants in perambulators who shared the verandahs with 
the canaries slept through the din. But they appar- 
ently did; no sound came from them. Up and down 
spanked the important-looking bright yellow butcher's 
cart, and in and out of the back gates went the baker's 
boy with his basket clamped to his back like a big shell. 

It had rained in the night. There were still puddles — 
broken stars — on the road. But the pavement was beau- 


tifully dry. What a pleasure it was to walk on the nice 
clean pavement! 


"There is no proof, though there may be what is called 
mathematical proof, that 2 and 2 make 4, except to continue 
adding them together until we get tired of hoping for any 
other result, and even then a Lobatschewski may step in 
and show that our assumed certainty is only true as a special 
case, after we have (unconsciously) fixed the limits within 
which we will work. Any other proof than that of experi- 
ence, e.g. a mathematical one, is only an extension from this 
proof of experience, and merely says when 2 and 2 make 4, 
4 and 4 make 8." {Cosmic Anatomy.) 

The S fieri dans 

It was late afternoon when Mrs. Sheridan, after hav- 
ing paid Heaven knows how many calls, turned towards 

"Thank Heaven, that's all over!" she sighed, as she 
clicked the last gate to, and stuffed her little Chinese 
card-case into her handbag. 

But it was not all over. Although she hadn't the 
faintest desire to remember her afternoon, her mind, 
evidently, was determined she should not forget it. And 


so she walked along seeing herself knocking at doors, 
crossing dim halls into large pale drawing-rooms, hear- 
ing herself saying, "No, she would not have any tea, 
thank you. Yes, they were all splendidly well. No, 
they had not seen it yet. The children were going to- 
night. Yes, fancy, he had arrived. Young and good- 
looking too! Quite an asset! Oh dear no! She was de- 
termined not to allow any of her girls to marry. It was 
quite unnecessary now-a-days, and such a risk!" And 
so on and so on. 

"What nonsense calling is! What a waste of time! 
I have never met a single woman yet who even pre- 
tended to like it. Why keep it up then ? Why not de- 
cide once and for all? Mock-orange . . ." And Mrs. 
Sheridan woke out of her dream to find herself standing 
under a beautiful mock-orange bush that grew against 
the white palings of old Mr. Phillips' garden. The little 
sponge-like fruits — flowers? which were they? — shone 
burning-bright in the late afternoon sun. "They are 
like little worlds," she thought, peering up through the 
large crumpled leaves; and she put out her hand and 
touched one gently. "The feel of things is so strange, so 
different, one never seems to know a thing until one has 
felt it — at least that is true of flowers. Roses for in- 
stance, — who can smell a rose without kissing it ? And 
pansies, little darlings they are! People don't pay half 
[ 254 ] 


enough attention to pansies." Now her glove was all 
brushed with yellow. But it didn't matter. She was ' 
glad, even. "I wish you grew in my garden," she said 
regretfully to the mock-orange bush, and she went on, 
thinking, "I wonder why I love flowers so much. None 
of the children inherit it from me. Laura perhaps. But 
even then it's not the same. She's too young to feel as I 
do. I love flowers more than people, except my own 
family, of course. Take this afternoon, for instance. The 
only thing that really remains is that mock-orange." 

But this is not expanded enough, or rich enough. I 
think still a description of the hour and place should 
come first. And the light should fall on the figure of 
Mrs. S. on her way home. Really I can allow myself to 
write a great deal — to describe it all — the baths, the ave- 
nue, the people in the gardens, the Chinaman under 
the tree in May Street. But in that case she won't be 
conscious of these things. That's bad. They must be 
seen and felt by her as she wanders home. . . . That 
sense of flowing in and out of houses — <ioin£ and re- 
turning — like the tide. To go and not to return. How 
terrible! The father in his dressing-room — the familiar 
talk. His using her hair-brush — his passion for things 
that wear well. The children sitting round the table — 
the light outside, the silver. Her feeling as she sees them 


I 9 2 2 

all gathered together-— her longing for them always to 
be there. Yes, I'm getting nearer all this. I now re- 
member S. W. and sec that it must be written with love — . 
real love. All the same, the difficulty is to get it all 
within focus — to introduce that young doctor and bring 
him continually nearer and nearer until finally he is 
part of die Sheridan family, until finally he has taken 
away Meg . . . that is by no means easy. . . . 

Now her white glove was all brushed with yellow. 
But it did not matter. She was glad, even. "Why don't 
you grow in my garden?" she said regretfully to the 
mock-orange bush. And she went on thinking, "I won- 
der why I love flowers so much. I love them more than 
people — except my own family, of course. But take this 
afternoon, for instance. The only thing that really re- 
mains is that mock-orange. I mean, when I was stand- 
ing under that bush, it was the only moment when I 
felt in touch with something. These things are very dif- 
ficult to explain. But the fact remains I never feel that 
need of anybody — apart from Claude and the children. 
If the rest of the world was swept away to-morrow . . ." 

Return again! Come — it was an agony to Mr. Sheri- 
dan to be late, or to know that others were late. It had 
always been so. Talking with his wife in the garden — 
the stillness, the lightness, the steps on the gravel — 


the dark trees, the flowers, the night-scented stocks— 
what happiness it was to walk with him there! What 
he said did not really matter so very much. But she felt 
she had him to herself in a way that no other occasion 
granted her. She felt his case, and although he never 
looked at what she pointed out to him it did not mat- 
ter. His "very nice, dcarl" was enough. He was always 
planning, always staring towards a future. ... "I 
should like later on." But she — she did not care in the 
least; the present was all she loved and dwelt in. . . . 

I have been thinking over this story this morning. 
I suppose I know as much about it now as I shall know. 
So it seems. And if just the miracle happened I would 
walk into it and make it mine. Even to write that, 
brings it all nearer. It's very strange, but the mere act 
of writing anything is a help. It seems to speed one on 
one's way. . . . But my feet are so cold. 

The excitement began first thing that morning by 
their father suddenly deciding that, after all, they could 
have champagne. What! Impossible! Mother was jok- 

A fierce discussion had raged on this subject ever 
since the invitations were sent out, Father pooh-pooh- 
ing — and refusing to listen, and Mother, as usual siding 


I 9 2 2 

with him when she was with him: ("Of course, darling: 
I quite agree") and siding with them when she was with 
them: ("Most unreasonable, I more than see the point"). 
So that by this time they had definitely given up hope 
of champagne, and had focussed all dieir attention on 
the hock cup instead. And now, for no reason what- 
ever, with nobody saying a word to him — so like 
Father! — he had given in. 

"It was just after Zaidee had brought in our morning 
tea. He was lying on his back, you know, staring at the 
ceiling. And suddenly he said: 'I don't want the chil- 
dren to think I am a wet blanket about this dance affair. 
If it's going to make all that difference to them; if it's a 
question of the thing going with a swing or not going 
with a swing, then I'm inclined to let them have cham- 
pagne. I'll call in and order it on my way to the Bank.' " 

"My dear! What did you say?" 

"What could I sav? I was overcome. I said: That's 
very generous of you, Daddy dear,' and I placed the en- 
tire plate of cut bread and butter on his chest. As a kind 
of sacrifice to the darling. I felt he deserved it, and he 
does so love those thin shaves of bread and butter." 

"Can't you see the plate," cried Laurie, "gently rising 
and falling on his pyjama jacket?" 

They began to laugh, but it really was most thrill- 
ing. . . . Champagne did make all the difference — 


didn't it ? Just the feeling it was there gave such a differ- 
ent .. . Oh, absolutely! 

Baby ]can 

There are certain human beings on this earth who do 
not care a safety-pin whether their loved one is beauti- 
ful or pretty or youthful or rich. One thing only they 
ask of her, and that is that she should smile. 

"Smile! Smile now!" their eyes, their fingers, their 
toes, and even their tiny jackets say. In fact, the tassel 
of little Jean's cap, which was much too big for him and 
hung over one eye with a drunken effect, said it loudest 
of all. 

Every time his mother swooped forward to put it 
straight, it was all she could do not to lift him out of 
die pram and press him — squeeze him to her shoulder 
while she rubbed her cheek against his white cheek, and 
told him what she thought of him. 

Jean's cheeks were white because he lived in a base- 
ment. He was, however, according to his mother, a per- 
fectly healthy child, and good — lively. He had merry, 
almost cunning, little eyes. 

"Smile!" said Jean's eyebrows, which were just be- 
ginning to show. 


On a perfect spring afternoon he and his mother set 
out for the Jardins Publiques together. It was his first 
spring. A year ago he had been of course much too 
young — six months only!— to be in the open air for any 
length of time. Even now his mother wheeled him out 
in die teeth of his grandmother's awful prophecies and 
the neighbours* solemn warnings. The open air is so 
weakening for a baby and the sun, as everyone knows, is 
very, very dangerous. One catches fever from sitting 
in the sun, colds in the head, weeping eyes. Jean's Gran, 
before daring to face its rays, plugged her ears with wool, 
wrapped herself round in an extra black shawl, gave a 
final twist which hid her mouth and her pale beak- 
like nose, and pulled black woollen mitts over her cot- 
ton ones. Thus attired, with a moan of horror, she scut- 
tled away to the bread shop and, having scuttled back, 
she drank something blue out of a bottle as an extra 
precaution. . . . 

How much wiser to sit inside at the open door with 
Jean so that he could be whipped back into the kitchen 
if he sneezed or became flushed. But no! There was a 
wicked recklessness about Jean's mother. First she had 
made up her mind to buy a pram, and she had bought 
one second-hand. Then she had set her heart on taking 
Jean to the Jardins Publiques. And here they were! 


It is lovely in the public gardens; it is full spring. The 
lilac is in flower, the new grass quivers in the light, and 
the trees, their delicate leaves gold in the sun, stand with 
branches outspread as if in blessing. 

Up the main path go Jean and his mother. She is 
extremely proud of him, and she is proud of herself for 
having managed to bring him there. The wheels of the 
pram scjueak.and this delights her, too, for she thinks 
everyone will notice it and look at Jean. But nobody 
docs. Mothers, nurses, babies, lovers, students go by in a 
stream. A little boy tugs his grandfather's hand. "Run!" 
he says. "Run!" And they stagger oil together. It is 
hard to say which will fall down first. 

But all this is absolutely mysterious to little Jean. 
First, he looks one side; then he looks the other. Then 
he stares at his mother, who nods and says "Cuckoo!" 
But how does "Cuckoo" explain anything? For a mo- 
ment he wonders if he ought to cry. But there seems to 
be nothing to cry about — so he jumps up and down in- 
stead and tries to burst out of some of the tight hot little 
coats and shawls that arc half-smothering bim. The 
heat in the pram is terrible; he is sitting on a blanket, a 
broad strap cuts across his legs, and on either side, at his 
feet, and behind his head, there are large newspaper 
parcels which contain his mother's mending. 


I 9 2 2 

"Arc you hungry? Are you hungry? Hungry? 
Hungry?" asks his mother as she wheels the pram over 
to a bench and sits down. Jean is never hungry. But he 
takes the biscuit that she shows to him, nibbles it, and 
stares at the grass on the other side of die low railing. 

The Ofice Boy 

After a succession of idle, or careless, or clumsy, or 
unwilling little boys had passed through the office, after 
horrid little boys that the typists couldn't bear to come 
near them — "Stand further off, please!" — or clumsy 
young idiots who tripped on the Boss's doormat every 
time they came to him with a message — the appearance 
of Charlie Parker on the scene was more than relief, 
it was hailed with positive pleasure by everybody. His 
mother was good old Ma Parker, the office cleaner, 
whose husband, a chimney sweep, had died in a chim- 
ney! Really — the poor seem to go out of their way to 
find extraordinary places to die in! Charlie was the 
eldest of goodness knows how many little P.'s. So 
many, in fact, that the clergyman's wife, who was tired 
of delivering parcels of flannelette at the tiny house with 
the black brush over the gate, said that she didn't be- 
lieve Mr. Parker's death had made the slightest difler- 
[ 262 ] 


encc to Mrs. Parker. "I don't believe anything will stop 
her. I am sure there has been a new one since I was 
there last. I think it has become pure habit and she will 
go on and on — eating into the Maternity Bag," said the 
clergyman's wife crossly. "I confess, my dear, I find you 
slightly difficult to follow," said her husband. 

Well, if they were all like Charlie it wasn't greatly 
to be wondered at. What trouble would he have given 
his mother? He was one of those children who must 
have been a comfort ever since he found his legs. At 
fourteen he was a firm, upstanding little chap — on the 
slender side, perhaps — but quite a little man, with bright 
blue eyes, shining brown hair, good teeth that showed 
when he smiled — he was always smiling — and a fair 
baby skin that turned crimson when the typists teased 
him. But that wasn't all. He was so neat, so careful of 
his appearance — so — brushed and combed! There was 
never a speck on his blue serge suit. When you looked 
at his tie you wanted to smile, you could sec how 
solemnly that knot had been drawn just so. Beams came 
from his hair and his boots, and his childish hands were 
a deep pink colour as though he'd just finished drying 

From his first day at the office Charlie found his place, 
as though he had been dreaming all his life what he 
would do when he was an office boy. He changed the 


I 9 2 2 

blotting-paper on the desks, kept the inkpots clean and 
filled, saw that there were fresh nibs, carried wire baskets 
of letters from the typists* room to the Boss, to the acting 
Manager, to Mr. Tonks of the wholesale order depart- 
ment, went to the post office, bought immense quantities 
of different kinds of stamps, asked the various callers 
who it v/as they wished to see, answered the store-room 
telephone, — and at four o'clock when Miss Hickness, 
the head typist, had boiled a kettle on the electric heater 
she was so proud of, he took in the Boss's tea. 

A knock at the door. 

"Come in!" 

Enter Charlie, with the tea-tray, very serious and yet 
trying not to smile. He walks so straight that his knees 
rub together and if as much as a saucer clatters, he draws 
in his breath and frowns. . . . 

"Ah, Charlie 1" the Boss leans back. "That my tea?" 

"Yes, Sir" — and very carefully the tray is lowered and 
a pink hand reaches out and ventures to move back a 
paper or two. Then Charlie stands upright like a soldier 
on parade, and glaring at the sugar as if he dared it to 
take wings and fly, he says: "Have you everything you 
want, Sir?" 

"Yes, I think so, Charlie," says the Boss, easy and 

Charlie turns to go. 


"Oh, one moment, Charlie !" 

And the little boy turns round and looks full at the 
Boss, and the Boss looks back into those candid inno- 
cent eyes. "You might — you might tell Miss Walker to 
come in to me in half an hour." 

"Very good, Sir!" says Charlie. And he is gone. But 
the Boss pours out his tea and the tea tastes wonderfully 
good. Thccc is something especially crisp about the bis- 
cuits too, and there's no doubt afternoon tea is refresh- 
ing — he's noticed it particularly lately. . . . 

It was extraordinary the difference one little boy 
made in the office. " 'E couldn't be made more fuss of 
if 'c was a little dog," said the storcman. "It's like 'aving 
a pet in the 'ousc, that's what it is." 

And he was right. To have someone who was always 
eager and merry and ready to play. Someone to like 
you when saying silly things if you wanted to. Some- 
one who — if you did say a kind word — as good as 
jumped in the air for joy. But why wasn't he spoilt? 
That was what the typists couldn't understand. But 
everybody went out of the way to be nice, to be kind to 
him— when even the Boss made a fad of him why didn't 
he become an odious little horror? 

Mystery. . . . However . . . 

One October afternoon, blustery, with a drizzle of 
rain . • . 


I 9 2 2 

... Once they're found out — once the taint's discov- 
ered — you might as well try and get rid of a touch of 
the tar-brush. 

. . . "No," he thought, staring at a drowned leaf that 
bobbed against the edge of the cup, "it's no good. It 
won't work. Charlie must go." 

. . . And now, thinking over Charlie's cleanliness and 
cheerfulness and good temper, it seemed to him that it 
had all been acting. An astonishing example in so young 
a boy of criminal cleverness. What else could it have 
been ? Look how, even after he had been forgiven and 
the whole thing wiped out, after he'd been allowed to 
get off scot free . . . 

This story won't do. It is a silly story. 


The Dressmaker 

One advantage in having your clothes made by Miss 
Phillips was that you had to go through the garden to 
get to the house. Perhaps it was the only advantage, 
for Miss Phillips was a strange, temperamental dress- 
maker with ever a surprise up her — no, indeed— in your 
own sleeve, for you. Sleeves were her weakness, her ter- 
ror. I fancy she looked upon them as devils, to be 
wrestled with but never overcome. Now a body, once 


she had tried it on first in newspaper, then in unbleached 
calico and finally in the lining, she could make a very 
pretty fit to the figure. She liked to linger over her 
bodies, to stroke them, to revolve round them, hissing 
as was her wont, faintly. But the moment she dreaded 
came at last. 
"Have you cut out the sleeve, Miss Phillips ?" 
"Yes, Miss. I 'avc — one moment, Miss. If you please!'* 
And with a look half peevish half desperate, the strange 
funnel-shaped thing was held up for your arm to thrust 
"The armhole is very tight, Miss Phillips." 
"They're wearing them very small this seasing, Miss." 
"But I can't get my hand near my head." 
"Near your red, Miss?" echoed Miss Phillips, as 
thougli it was the first time she had ever heard of this 
gymnastic feat being attempted. Finally, she repinned it 
and raised it on the shoulder. 

"But now it's much too short, Miss Phillips. I wanted 
a lo — ong sleeve ... I wanted a point over the hand." 
Points over the hand always seemed to me, still seem to 
me, excessively romantic. 

"Oh, Miss!" The tiny scissors then went "sneep— 
sneep," like a bird on a cold morning, cut out a brown 
paper cuff and Miss Phillips pinned it on with fingers 
that trembled; while I frowned on the top of her head 


and even made faces at her in my rage. Her hair was so 
strange. It was grey, all in little tufts. It reminded you 
of a sheepskin hearthrug. And there were always 
threads, minute triangles of stuff, pieces of fluff stick- 
ing to it. It didn't want brushing, I thought, so much as 
a good sweeping and a shake out of the window. In 
person Miss Phillips was extremely thin and squeezed in 
so tight that every breath creaked, and in moments of 
emotion she sounded like a ship at sea. She invariably 
wore the same black alpaca apron, fitted on her left 
breast — oh, how cruel, how sinister it looked to me! — 
with a tight little red plush heart pierced all over with 
needles and pins, and a malignant-looking safety-pin or 
two to stab deeper — 

"If you please, Miss, while I unpin you . . ." Her 
small hard hands flew up, pinched, gripped like claws. 
She had a thin nose with just a dab of red on the tip as 
diough some wicked child with a paint-brush had 
caught her sleeping. 

'Thank you, Miss Phillips. And you'll let me have it 
on Saturday?" 

"I'll send it for certain, Miss," hissed Miss Phillips 
through a bristling mouthful of pins. 

While I dressed in front of the long mirror that had 
spots at the side like frosted fingerprints, I loved to dis- 
cover again that funny little room. In die corner by 


the fire-place stood the "model" covered in red sateen. 
Its solidity ended at the hips in wire rings that reminded 
you of an egg-beater. But what a model it was! What 
shoulders, what a bosom — what curves, and no hor- 
rible arms to be clothed in sleeves, no head to be reached 
up to. It was Miss Phillips' God. It was also, I decided, 
a perfect lady. Thus and thus only do perfect ladies 
appear in the extreme privacy of her apartments. But 
above all it was god-like. I saw Mis: Phillips aloiiv, ab- 
stracted, lavishing her stuffs upon that imperturbable 
altar. Perhaps her failures even were to be excused. 
They were all part of a frenzy for sacrifice. . . . 

At Putnam's Pier 

As the little steamer rounded the point and came 
into the next bay, they noticed the flag was flying from 
Putnam's Pier. That meant there were passengers to 
bring off. The Captain swore. They were half an hour 
late already and he couldn't bear not to be up to time. 
But Putnam's flag, cherry-red against the green bush on 
this brilliant morning, jigged gaily, to show it didn't 
care a flick for the Captain's feelings. 

There were three people and an old sheep-dog wait- 
ing. One was a little old woman, nearing seventy per- 
haps, very spry, with a piece of lilac in her bonnet and 


pale lilac strings. She carried a bundle wrapped in a 
long shawl, white as a waterfall. Beside her stood the 
young parents. He was tall, broad, awkward in a stiff 
black suit with banana-yellow shoes and a light blue 
tie, and she looked soft and formless in a woollen coat; 
her hat was like a child's with its wreath of daisies, and 
she carried a bag like a child's school-kit, stuffed very 
full and covered with a cloth. 

As the steamer drew near, the old sheep-dog ran 
forward and made a sound that was like the beginning 
of a bark, but he turned it off into an old dog's cough, 
as though he had decided that the little steamer wasn't 
worth barking about. The coil of rope was thrown, 
was looped; the one-plank gangway was spanned across, 
and over it tripped the old woman, running and bridling 
like a girl of eighteen. 

"Thank you, Captain!" said she, giving the Captain 
a bird-like, impudent little nod. 

"That's all right, Mrs. Putnam," said old Captain Reid, 
who had known her for the last forty years. 

After her came the sheep-dog, then the young woman, 
looking lost, and she was followed by the young man, 
who seemed terribly ashamed about something. He 
kept his head bent, he walked stiff as wood in his creak- 
ing shoes, and a long brown hand twisted away, twisted 
away at his fair moustache. 


Old Captain Reid winked broadly at the passengers. 
He stuffed his hands in his short jacket, drew in a breath 
as if he was going to sing. "Morning, Mr. Putnam!" he 
roared. And the young man straightened himself with 
an immense effort and shot a terrified glance at the Cap- 
tain. "Morning, Cap'n!" he mumbled. 

Captain Reid considered him, shaking his head. "It's 
all right, my lad," he said. "We've all been through it. 
Jim here — " and he jerked his head at the man at the 
wheel — "had twins last time, hadn't you, Jim ?" 

"That's ri', Cap'n," said Jim, grinning broadly at the 
passengers. The little steamer quivered, throbbed, 
started on her way again, while the young man, in an 
agony, not greeting anyone, creaked of? to the bows, 
and the two women— they were the only women on 
board — sat themselves down on a green bench against 
the white deck-rail. As soon as they had sat down, 

"There, Mother, let me take him!" said the young 
woman anxiously, quietly. She tossed the kit away. 

But Gran didn't want to give him up. 

"Now don't you go tiring yourself," said she. "He's 
as nice as can be where he is." 

Torture! The young woman gave a gasp like a sob. 

"Give him to me!" she said, and she actually twitched 
at her mother-in-law's sleeve. 

The old woman knew perfectly well what she was 


I 9 2 2 

feeling. Little channels for laughter showed in her 
checks. "My goodness gracious me!" she pretended to 
scold. "There's impatience for you." But even while 
she spoke she swung the baby gently, gently into its 
mother's arms. "There now!" said Gran, and she sat 
up sharp and gave the bow of her bonnet strings a 
tweak, as though she was glad to have her hands free 
after all. 

( It was an exquisite day. It was one of those days so 
clear, so still, so silent, you almost feel the earth itself 
f has stopped in astonishment at its own beauty. 

The Morality of Death 

"I believe I have always had a sort of grudge, in my 
heart of hearts, against the moral superiorities — I've had a 
mean little wish to get even with them. And it has come 
to me, in these last days, that Death has a sort of grudge, too. 
He makes them seem less important. He puts them in their 
right place. While, on the other hand, he makes you discover 
a place, a large and beautiful place, for the things we dread 
and despise: for humiliation and cowardice, for weakness 
and suffering and fear. I like to fancy that, for Death, life 
means things like these at least as much as it means the 
others." (R. O. Prowsc: A Gift of the Dits{.) 


Symbolic Action 

"The Temple in Jerusalem is the body of Man. This 
equation of 'real' places and actions with 'mystic' ones is no 
doubt incomprehensible from our ordinary point of view; 
but when an Kntity is of sufficient magnitude, or sufficiently 
identified wkh the Great or Magical World, his action? be- 
come identical with what we call happenings of nature, and 
such happcrfings, great or small as suits the occasion, become 
inextricably woven into his life. A 'casual' event in the outer 
worlds becomes a truly symbolic act, tuhich means one in 
which two lines of events are 'thrown together for the 
moment/' (Cosmic Anatomy.) 

The Lost Christ 

"The doctrines of the Church may be divided into two 
parts; one deals with data so transcendent as to be for ever prehend able by the intellect of man; the other with 
data so material that to the trained intellect they are dis- 
tasteful, and give real satisfaction only to the most easily 
satisfied of the unintcllectuals. The third part which should 
be present in all complete religious doctrines is lost, and it is 
the most important of the three, at any rate for the present 
moment, as it is the vital one — in fact, it is the Christ. Some 
will perhaps understand this better if they consider the first 
as symbolized by St. John, the second by St. Peter, and the 
third by St. Paul." (Cosmic Anatomy.) 

[ 273 ] 

The Bondage of Love 

"The verse from Galatians which is rendered 'By love 
serve ye one another' seems to be taken always as if it read 
'Render service to one another for love.' The word trans- 
lated 'serve' means, at bottom, 'to be a slave,' and the real 
translation of the verse is 'Be in bondage to one another by 
love,' which is quite a different thing. In fact, this is another 
example of an immediate reality being converted into a 
mediate formality, just as we have converted Joy into 
'charitable* almsgiving." (Cosmic Anatomy.) 

Sunday at Home 

Why should Sunday be so different to every other 
day? Why should the air, the sky, the clouds be dif- 
ferent? Why should the dew take so much longer to 
dry on the bluish grass and how do the birds know it's 
Sunday? One can understand it in the town where 
all the shops are shut and the trams don't run until 
church time — but in the country — that stillness, that 
brightness, that sense of joyful ease. . . . Where does 
it come from? 

"Ting-a-tan! Ting-a-tan! Ting-a-tan-tan-tan" rang 
very faint from the little tin church over the hill. It 
sounded rather charming from a distance. They never 


dreamed of going any nearer. She washed her hair on 
Sunday mornings if the weather was fine; if it was wet 
she cleaned her white kid gloves. And he lay in a long 
chair on the verandah and read something or other. 
There had been a time when she had always come to 
dry her hair in the sun on the verandah. She stood in 
her white kimono against the big blue plumbago, look- 
ing solemn, and fanning that flag of hair, until he put 
down his book and drawled lazily, "I say what a lot! 
How jolly it looks!" There had been a time when she 
had always pinned helpless exhausted-looking gloves to 
the verandah poles to air, while he murmured: "They 
look like absurd little mice." But that was over. Noth- 
ing had been said, but both of them understood why. 

Mountain Hotel 

Behind the hotel — h deux pas de V hotel, as the pro- 
spectus said— there was an immense stretch of gently 
rising turf dotted with clumps of pine and fir trees. 
Beyond was the forest, threaded with green paths and 
hoarse, quick-tumbling little streams. Dark blue moun- 
tains, streaked with white, rose above the forest, and 
higher still there was another range, bright silver, float- 
ing across the still, transparent sky. 


I 9 2 2 

What could be more pleasant, after the long terribly 
cold winter, than to sit outside on a fine spring after- 
noon and to talk, slowly, softly, at one's ease ? Nothing 
has happened, and yet there seems so much to say. In 
the winter one can go for weeks without saying a word 
more than is necessary. But now, in the warmth and 
light, dicre is such a longing to talk that it is hard to 
wait for one's turn. ... It was hot in the sun. Auntie 
Marie had a newspaper over her head; Auntie Rose a 
handkerchief. But little Anna's father, whose hair was 
thick like fur, refused to cover himself. They sat, the 
three of them, in a row on cane chairs outside the back 
door of the hotel and little Anna danced, now before 
them, now behind, now from side to side, like a gnat. 

Little Anna and her father had come up from the 
valley by the funicular to spend the day with the Aun- 
ties who owned this immense, airy hotel with its wide 
windows and wooden balconies and glassed-in-veran- 
dah lounge. What I all this was owned by these two 
insignificant little grey-haired creatures in their black 
stuff dresses. They themselves seemed to realise how 
dreadfully inappropriate it was, and hurriedly explained 
in almost a horrified whisper that it had been left to 
them. And as they could never sell it or let it they 
tried to make a living out of it. But very, very few peo- 
ple came. It was too quiet for young people. There was 


no dancing, no golf, nothing on earth to do but to stare 
at the view. And, thank Heaven, they hadn't come to 
that yet! And it was too quiet for old people. There 
was no chemist, no doctor within call. As for the view, 
when one did stare at it one felt inclined to whimper — 
the mountains looked so cruelly unsympathetic. 

I seem to have lost all power of writing. I can think, 
in a vague way, and it all seems more or less real and 
worth doing. But I can't see any further. I can't write 
it down. Sometimes I think my brain is going. But 
no! I know the real reason. It's because I am still suf- 
fering from a kind of nervous prostration caused by 
my life in Paris. For instance, those interviews with 
the dentist. If anyone else — anyone with imagination — 
had realised what I suffered, they would have known 
I was really at the end of my strength. And that the 
strain of keeping going, of brushing my clothes, of mak- 
ing the constant, renewed effort, and talking to Brett, 
coughing. . . . Bogey was perfectly marvellous. But 
watching him do everything was really nearly as tiring 
as doing it oneself. And then, on other journeys, look 
at the care I had taken of me — everything was spared. 
There was nothing to do but to keep still. This time I 
felt at the mercy of everything. Tchchov, by the way, 
felt this disenchantment, exactly. And who would not 


feel it who lives with a pessimist? To keep another 
going, is a million times more tiring than to keep one- 
self going. And then there is always the feeling that 
all falls on stony ground. Nothing is nourished, 
watched, cherished. He hears. It gives him a vague 
sense of life, and then it passes away from him as though 
it never had been, and he . . . 

(June 1922) 

Tchehov's Last Letters 

"I am torn up by the roots, I am not living a full life, 
I don't drink, though I am fond of drinking; I love noise 
and don't hear it — in fact, I am in the condition of a trans- 
planted tree which is hesitating whether to take root or to 
begin to wither." {February 10, 1900) 

So am I exactly. 

"I live on the ground floor." {June 12, 1904) 

"My health has improved. I don't notice now as I go 
about that I am ill; my asthma is better, nothing is aching." 
{June 16, 1904) 

"I confess I dread the railway journey. It's stifling in 
the train now, particularly with my asthma, which is made 
worse by the slightest thing." 


"I like the food here very much, but it docs not seem 
to suit me; my stomach is constantly being upset. Evidently 
my digestion is hopelessly ruined. It is scarcely possible to 
cure it by anything except fasting — that is, eating nothing, 
and that's the end of it. And the only remedy for the asthma 
is not moving." {June 28, 1904) 

Who reads between the lines here ? I at least. K. M. 


[The following list of words and phrases, for which she 
sought the Russian equivalent, is eloquent of the discomforts 
which Kathcrine deliberately endured at the GurdjieiT Insti- 
tute at Fontaineblcau.] 

I am cold. 

Bring paper to light a fire. 









Light a fire. 


The Works of 







{Edited by J. Mtddleton Marry) 




(out of print) 



[including Bliss, The Garden Party, The Dotes' Nest, 
The Little Girl, and In A German Pension] 


The scrapbook ol Kathenne Man main 
B28,91MM7 ! C.2 

3 12b2 D31b3 10^6